Long-Term Outcome of Pediatric Eating Pathology and Predictors for the Onset of Loss of Control over Eating Following Weight-Loss Treatment

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ObjectiveTo investigate the stability of eating pathology over a 6-year period and predictors for the onset of loss of control (LC) over eating among overweight youngsters having undergone weight-loss treatment.MethodStructured clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires were administered to a sample of 56 overweight youngsters (M age = 13 years) who were at the start of weight-loss treatment in 2000 and again 6 years later.ResultsMean levels of eating concerns, drive for thinness, bulimic symptoms, and body dissatisfaction decreased over the 6-year period. Dietary restraint, weight, and shape concerns were stable over time. Also, in 50% of those reporting objective binge eating at baseline, binge-eating episodes remained stable. Youngsters characterized by symptoms of depression in early adolescence were at a higher risk for developing new episodes of LC 6 years later. Neither concerns about eating, shape, and weight nor dietary restraint independently predicted LC.DiscussionSix years after following structured weight-loss treatment, some eating pathology variables still remain stable. Especially youngsters who already report LC at young ages appear to develop a more stable pattern of disordered eating behavior.

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