Meta-analysis unveils connection between insulin-dependent diabetes and eating disorders

One in four patients with insulin-dependent diabetes aged 16 years and older also exhibit some kind of eating disorder symptoms, according to a recent meta-analysis conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. In addition to typical eating disorder symptoms, such as binge eating and food restriction, insulin-dependent diabetes is also associated with insulin omission, i.e., a unique form of disordered eating where insulin doses are intentionally restricted or skipped entirely due to fears of weight gain.

Intentional skipping or restriction of insulin doses will lead to weight loss, but this also maintains high blood glucose, throwing the management of diabetes off balance."

Pia Niemelä, Doctoral Researcher, University of Eastern Finland

According to the meta-analysis, one in five patients reported intentional insulin omission.

Published in Eating Behaviors, the meta-analysis compiled findings from 45 previous studies. The data included a total of 11,592 individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes, of whom 2,521 exhibited eating disorder symptoms.

Eating disorder symptoms were more common in women than in men, which is an observation that has previously been made in young people as well. Age, however, was not a significant factor, as eating disorders occurred regardless of age group.

"Eating disorder symptoms are often thought to affect adolescents and young adults. However, our meta-analysis shows that adults, too, suffer from eating disorder symptoms, which is why it is important to learn to identify patients with eating disorders. Here in Finland, for example, we currently don't have a care pathway for patients who have both diabetes and eating disorders. Understanding the clinical picture and its prevalence is the first step in developing treatment and care pathways," Niemelä says.

Diabetics with eating disorder symptoms have a higher risk of comorbidities and complications associated with diabetes. Eating disorder symptoms are screened using various surveys, including the most commonly used DEPS-R, which in the current meta-analysis was positive in 27 per cent of the subjects.

Journal reference:

Niemelä, P. E., et al. (2024). Prevalence of eating disorder symptoms in people with insulin-dependent-diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eating Behaviors.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Innovative therapeutic strategies for combating type 2 diabetes