Driven exercise among treatment-seeking youth with eating disorders

The University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Chicago, IL 60637, United States.
Eating behaviors 12/2011; 12(4):328-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2011.09.002
Source: PubMed


This study evaluated the prevalence and clinical significance of driven exercise (DE) in treatment-seeking youth.
Participants were 380 consecutive referrals to a pediatric eating disorder program (90.8% female; M age=14.9±2.2). Spearman's rho correlations examined the relation between DE frequency, and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) Global Severity scores. ANOVA compared those reporting only DE, only vomiting, or both DE and vomiting on the aforementioned measures.
51.3% of participants (n=193) reported DE in the past 3 months, with an average of 21.8 (SD=32.6) episodes. Frequency of DE was related to EDE global severity score (Spearman's rho=.46; p<.001) and BDI Total Score (Spearman's rho=.33; p<.001). Participants reporting both vomiting and DE had the highest EDE global severity and BDI total scores.
DE is associated with greater eating disorder and depressive symptomatology, especially when paired with vomiting. The findings highlight the importance of assessing for DE in youth presenting for eating disorder treatment.

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    • "In a large cross-sectional study of about 2500 British adolescents, lower levels of physical activity were associated with more mental health problems than higher levels of physical activity [10]. In contrast, adolescents with eating disorders reported high levels of physical activity, called “driven exercise”, in an American cross-sectional study [11]. In a review, those adolescents with binge eating disorder tended not to exercise at all [12]. "
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