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University of Iowa professor identifies new eating disorder
Date:9/4/2007

A University of Iowa professor is making a case for a new eating disorder she calls purging disorder.

The disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa in that both syndromes involve eating, then trying to compensate for the calories. What sets the disorders apart is the amount of food consumed and the way people compensate for what they eat. Women with purging disorder eat normal or even small amounts of food and then purge, often by vomiting. Women with bulimia have large, out-of-control binge eating episodes followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise.

"Purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders," said Pamela Keel, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, "But it's not a new problem. Women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it."

In a paper published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Keel shares the results of a study indicating that purging disorder is a significant problem in women that is distinct from bulimia.

Keel recruited participants for three groups: women without eating disorders, women who purge to compensate for binge episodes and women with purging disorder who purge to control their weight or shape but do not have binge episodes. Participants came from the Boston and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids areas and were within a healthy weight range. The women completed self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews. They also had blood drawn before and after consuming a liquid test meal and reported their feelings throughout the meal, including feelings of fullness, hunger, sadness or tension.

Keel discovered that women with purging disorder tend to share some characteristics with bulimics: Both experience greater depression, anxiety, dieting and body image disturbance than women without eating disorders.

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Contact: Nicole Riehl
nicole-riehl@uiowa.edu
319-384-0070
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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