Body image, shape, and volumetric assessments using 3D whole body laser scanning and 2D digital photography in females with a diagnosed eating disorder: Preliminary novel findings


Dr Arthur Stewart, Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health and Social Care, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen AB25 1HG, UK (e-mail:


We piloted three-dimensional (3D) body scanning in eating disorder (ED) patients. Assessments of 22 ED patients (including nine Anorexia Nervosa (AN) patients, 12 Bulimia Nervosa (BN) patients, and one patient with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) and 22 matched controls are presented. Volunteers underwent visual screening, two-dimensional (2D) digital photography to assess perception and dissatisfaction (via computerized image distortion), and adjunctive 3D full-body scanning. Patients and controls perceived themselves as bigger than their true shape (except in the chest region for controls and anorexia patients). All participants wished to be smaller across all body regions. Patients had poorer veridical perception and greater dissatisfaction than controls. Perception was generally poorer and dissatisfaction greater in bulimia compared with anorexia patients. 3D-volume:2D-area relationships showed that anorexia cases had least tissue on the torso and most on the arms and legs relative to frontal area. The engagement of patients with the scanning process suggests a validation study is viable. This would enable mental constructs of body image to be aligned with segmental volume of body areas, overcoming limitations, and errors associated with 2D instruments restricted to frontal (coronal) shapes. These novel data could inform the design of clinical trials in adjunctive treatments for eating disorders.