Get access

Fasting during ramadan: A religious factor as a possible trigger or exacerbator for eating disorders in adolescents

Authors

  • Sinem Akgül MD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Orhan Derman MD,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nuray Ö. Kanbur MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
    • Correspondence to: Nuray Ö Kanbur, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey. E-mail: nuraykanbur@hotmail.com

    Search for more papers by this author

ABSTRACT

Culture-based contributors play a role in eating disorders (EDs). Here, we present one such factor that may play a role in triggering ED's in adolescents: Fasting during the holy period of Ramadan. Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking, which starts from dawn lasting until sunset.

For the past 2 years, we have noticed an increase in patients with disordered eating patterns that have applied to Hacettepe University, Division of Adolescent Medicine during or shortly after Ramadan. We document six of these patients, three of which were diagnosed with an ED and three that did not meet full criteria.

We argue that the possible effects of a drastic change in ones diet such as that which occurs during Ramadan, play an important role in triggering ED's in adolescents with a predisposition or may exacerbate an eating pathology. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:905–910)

Ancillary