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Diabet. Med. 30, 189–198 (2013)

Abstract

Aims  We report a systematic review to determine (1) prevalence of eating problems compared with peers and (2) the association between eating problems and glycaemic control in young adults with Type 1 diabetes.

Method  We conducted a systematic literature search via electronic databases and meta-analysis. Cohen’s d (the mean difference score between Type 1 diabetes and comparison groups) was calculated for 13 studies that met inclusion criteria.

Results  Eating problems [both disordered eating behaviour (39.3 and 32.5%; d = 0.52, 95% CI 0.10–0.94) and eating disorders (7.0 and 2.8%; = 0.46, 95% CI 0.10–0.81)] were more common in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes compared with peers and both were associated with poorer glycaemic control (= 0.40, 95% CI 0.17–0.64). In restricted analyses involving measures adapted for diabetes, associations between eating problems and poorer glycaemic control remained (= 0.54, 95% CI 0.32–0.76). Disordered eating behaviour (51.8 and 48.1%; = 0.06, 95% CI −0.05 to 0.21) and eating disorders (6.4 and 3.0%; = 0.43, 95% CI −0.06 to 0.91) were more common in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes compared with peers, but differences were non-significant.

Conclusions  Eating problems are common among this age group. Future work in populations with Type 1 diabetes should develop sensitive measures of eating problems and interventions, and establish predictors of eating problems. Screening in clinics is recommended.