Disturbed eating behavior in pre-teen and teenage girls and boys with type 1 diabetes

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Eleonora Peducci
Carla Mastrorilli
Simona Falcone
Angelica Santoro
Umberto Fanelli
Brunella Iovane
Tiziana Incerti
Chiara Scarabello
Valentina Fainardi
Carlo Caffarelli
Dora Di Mauro
Icilio Dodi
Bertrand Tchana
Maurizio Vanelli


Disturbed eating behavior, Eating disorders, Type 1 diabetes, Insulin omission, Teenagers.


Aim: To investigate Disturbed Eating Behavior (DEB) and eating patterns in the context of a teenage population with T1D. Methods: DEB was investigated using Eating Disorder Examination (EDE) test by a psychologist. Questions regarding insulin dosage manipulation or omission to obtain decrease in weight were added. Specific behavioral items from the EDE were used to define DEB: Objective Binge-eating, Self-induced Vomiting for weight control; the use of Diuretics, Laxatives or Insulin Omission for weight loss. Some EDE items provided information about four composite subscales which assesse Restraint, Eating concern, Shape concern and Weight concern. Results: Shape and Weight concern showed significantly higher scores than those observed in the other two subscales (p=0.021). Average scores of each subscale resulted significantly higher in girls than in boys as well as in teen than in pre-teen participants. Objective binge eating (20%) and insulin dosage omission or reduction (17.6%) were the most common DEB (p<0.03). Forty-one percent of participants reported to consume three, 25% four and 34% five meals daily. A significantly lower proportion of females than males resulted to consume breakfast and mid-afternoon snacks. Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that caregivers working in pediatric diabetes units should be alert in order to discover some DEB such as medication omission and binge-eating, all indicative symptoms of dissatisfaction of the body and psychological distress in diabetes management.


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