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Keywords:

  • eating pathology;
  • children and adolescents;
  • obesity;
  • prospective study;
  • stability

Abstract

Objective

To 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.

Method

Structured 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.

Results

Mean 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.

Discussion

Six 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. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2010