Are eating disorders a significant clinical issue in urban India? a survey among psychiatrists in Bangalore




It is believed that cultural changes such as urbanization and westernization can lead to increasing rates of eating disorders (EDs). A survey was conducted among psychiatrists in Bangalore, India to assess whether they were seeing more cases of ED in the last year.


Contact details of all psychiatrists in urban Bangalore were obtained from the directory of the local psychiatric society. These psychiatrists were contacted by telephone, email, or in person. A brief proforma was used to record information about the number and nature of eating disorders they had seen in their practice in the last one year.


Sixty-six psychiatrists took part in the study. Thirty-eight (56%) were in private practice and 28 (42%) in teaching hospitals. 45 (67%), reported having seen patients with eating disorders in the last year. The total number of cases seen was 74. Of these, 32 were diagnosed as anorexia nervosa (AN), 12 as bulimia nervosa (BN), and 30 as eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS). Sixteen (23.5%) respondents were of the opinion that EDs were increasing in Bangalore, 18 (26.5%) felt the rates were stable and 28 (42%) were not sure.


Two-thirds of psychiatrists reported seeing at least one case of ED indicating that EDs are not uncommon in urban India. Epidemiological studies of EDs in India are needed to provide better estimates of their prevalence. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int Eat Disord 2012;)