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Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • register study;
  • psychiatric epidemiology

A nationwide register study of psychiatric admission for anorexia nervosa in Denmark yielded average incidence rates of 1.9 per 100,000 per year for females and 0.17 per 100,000 per year for males. The prevalence was 6.7 per 100,000 per year for females and 0.6 per 100,000 per year for males. The female-male ratio for first admissions was 11.8: 1. The incidence of anorexia nervosa showed no trend in the general population, but an increase was found among psychiatric inpatients. This increase was explained by a reduction by one third in all psychiatric first admissions and in available psychiatric beds and augmented by an increase in readmissions of anorectic patients. Males were younger than females at first admission. Females were older at first admission from 1973 to 1977 than in later periods. Of males readmitted for non-eating disorders, more were psychotics and fewer psychopaths than among females. Age-period and age-cohort analysis of the 10- to 24-year-old females showed that only age exerted a significant independent influence on first-admission rates, whereas all 3 factors exerted significant independent influence on readmission rates. This might reflect changes in admission policy, greater diagnostic vigilance and changes in attitude towards weight, shape and fitness.