Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April 2005 Volume 16, Number 2
©2005 Gürze Books
Prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) is an important element in the increased risk for premature and low-birth-weight infants among mothers with eating disorders, according to the results of a recent study. Nadia Micali, MD and colleagues used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a prospective community-based study of 14,000 women, to test this theory. Among these mothers, 257 reported a history of anorexia nervosa and 284 had a history of bulimia nervosa. Self-report measures were obtained, as were psychosocial factors. Obstetric data were also assessed after birth. As the researchers reported at the Eating Disorders Research Society Annual Meeting in Amsterdam, babies of mothers with AN had significantly lower mean birth weights, after adjusting for gestational age and sex, than control mothers. However, the risk of premature or low-birth-weight neonates was comparable to that of the control group after controlling for prepregnancy BMI. Thus, the increased risk was traced to low BMI before pregnancy.