BMI May Be Best for Calculating Weight in Youths with Eating Disorders

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
March/April 2012 Volume 23, Number 2
©2012 Gürze Books

Currently there are no clear guidelines about the best method for calculating expected weight in children and teens with eating disorders. In a study published online in the Journal of Pediatrics January 4, 2012, Dr. Daniel Le Grange and researchers at the University of Chicago, Harvard School of Public Health, and the University of Rochester Medical Center found that body mass index (BMI, or kg/m2) was the most useful and most accurate way to establish a goal body weight in young patients with eating disorders. In an effort to establish what they termed a straightforward method, or “a gold standard,” for patients with eating disorders, in an analysis of data from adolescents seeking treatment at the University of Chicago, Dr. Le Grange and colleagues analyzed three methods for calculating weight, the McClaren method, the Moore method, and BMI. The researchers found that BMI was the most useful for children and teens of all ages, weights, and heights, and also helpful for very short or very tall patients. to avoid unrealistic body image expectations among patients with eating disorders. To avoid unrealistic body image expectations among patients with eating disorders, the authors also recommend that researchers cite the method used to calculate expected body weight in their studies and stressed the importance of using “expected” instead of “ideal” to describe body weight.

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