Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 1999 Volume 10, Number 4
©1999 Gürze Books
The National Eating Disorders Screening Program (NEDSP) is a voluntary testing program designed to help uncover people with eating disorders in the general population and to encourage and help them seek treatment. Each year the program reaches an ever-larger number of young people at risk. This year’s program, conducted early in February, was no exception.
According to Dr. David Garner, director of the Toledo Center for Eating Disorders, Toledo, OH, and colleagues, this year’s program conducted screening at 1083 sites. He also noted that 69,374 individuals attended the screening sessions. As reported at the annual Academy for Eating Disorders meeting in San Diego, more than half of the 35,897 individuals who were screened for eating disorders were college students.
A modified version of the Eating Attitudes Test was used as the primary screening tool, then follow-up interviews were done by telephone two months after the initial screening on a representative sample of 937 participants.
More than a third were at risk
Of those screened, then followed up by telephone, 34.5% scored 20 or more on the EAT, and 89% of these were not in treatment at the time the screening program took place. During the interviews, the researchers learned that 15% of those interviewed reported vomiting during the past 6 months in an attempt to control their weight; 15% abused laxatives, 33% used diet pills, and 11% took diuretics. Thirty-eight percent were referred for further treatment.
Of the people who scored positively on the EAT and were then referred to a clinician, 42% actually went to see a clinician. Dr. Garner reported that 76% of this group underwent further treatment.