Estrogen: A Link to Eating Disorder Attitudes?

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2003 Volume 14, Number 4
©2003 Gürze Books

Recent research has suggested that disturbances in hormonal levels are associated with etiological factors in eating disorders. A study at Michigan State University has provided preliminary evidence of a link between estrogen and specific eating attitudes and behaviors shown to be risk factors for eating pathology. As Patrick S. Perkins and Kelly L. Klump reported at the recent Academy for Eating Disorders meeting in Denver, 18 menstruating undergraduate women from a large midwestern university were assessed during the early follicular phase of their menstrual cycle. Basal salivary samples of estradiol were obtained in the morning following an overnight fast. Eating pathology was assessed with the Minnesota Eating Disorders Inventory (M-EDI). Moderate correlations were found between estradiol levels and M-EDI total score, body dissatisfaction, and weight preoccupation. Their findings suggested an association between peak monthly levels of estradiol and greater body and weight concerns. Further research may help clarify the role that sex hormones may play in modifying eating disorders cognitions and symptoms.

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