The pursuit of thinness : an outcome study of anorexia nervosa

Lim, Su Lin, Sinaram, Sarah, Ung, EK, & Kua, Ee Heok (2007) The pursuit of thinness : an outcome study of anorexia nervosa. Singapore Medical Journal, 48(3), pp. 222-226.

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INTRODUCTION: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a growing problem among young female Singaporeans. We studied the demographics and follow-up data of AN patients referred to dietitians for nutritional intervention.

METHODS: A retrospective nutritional notes review was done on 94 patients seen from 1992 to 2004. All patients were given nutritional intervention, which included individualised counselling for weight gain, personalised diet plan, correction of poor dietary intake and correction of perception towards healthy eating. We collected data on body mass index (BMI), patient demographics and outcome.

RESULTS: 96 percent of the patients were female and 86.2 percent were Chinese. The median BMI at initial consultation was 14.7 kilogramme per square metre (range, 8.6-18.8 kilogramme per square metre). 76 percent were between 13 and 20 years old. 83 percent of the patients came back for follow-up appointments with the dietitians in addition to consultation with the psychiatrist. Overall, there was significant improvement in weight and BMI from an average 37 kg to 41 kg and 14.7 kilogramme per square metre to 16.4 kilogramme per square metre, respectively, between the fi rst and fi nal consultations (p-value is less than 0.001). The average duration of followup was about eight months. Among the patients on follow-up, 68 percent showed improvement with an average weight gain of 6 kg. Patients that improved had more outpatient follow-up sessions with the dietitians (4.2 consultations versus 1.6 consultations; p-value is less than 0.05), lower BMI at presentation (14.2 kilogramme per square metre versus 15.7 kilogramme per square metre; p-value is less than 0.01) and shorter duration of disease at presentation (one year versus three years; p-value is less than 0.05) compared with those who did not improve. Seven patients with the disease for more than two years did not show improvement with follow-up.

CONCLUSION: We gained valuable understanding of the AN patients referred to our tertiary hospital for treatment, two-thirds of whom improved with adequate follow-up treatment. Patients that had suffered AN longer before seeking help appeared more resistant to improvement.

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ID Code: 43659
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Anorexia Nervosa, weight gain, eating disorders, body mass index, outcome study
ISSN: 0037-5675 (print)
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Clinical and Sports Nutrition (111101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100) > Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified (111199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Singapore Medical Association and the authors.
Deposited On: 26 Jul 2011 22:23
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 11:57

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