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Elevated pre-morbid weights in bulimic individuals are usually surpassed post-morbidly: Implications for perpetuation of the disorder




To determine how often patients diagnosed with bulimia nervosa (BN) surpass their highest pre-morbid weight during the course of their disorder.


The weight histories of individuals with BN were determined using retrospective weight data (Study 1) and combined retrospective/prospective data (Study 2).


Retrospective analyses indicated that 59.0% (n = 46) and 61.8% (n = 110), respectively, reported that their highest weight was reached after developing BN. In Study 2, 35.3% of participants superseded their highest pre-enrollment weights during 8 years of follow-up, and 71.6% reached a post-morbid highest weight before remission. Across studies, the primary difference between patients who did and did not reach their highest weight post-morbidly was that those who did had an earlier age of onset and longer duration of BN.


Findings are discussed in terms of possible links between BN and weight-gain proneness, weight fluctuation across the course of BN, and implications for treating BN. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)