Disturbed Eating Behaviors in Youth with Type 1 Diabetes: An Exploratory Study about Challenges in Diagnosis

Valeria Calcaterra, Chiara Mazzoni, Donatella Ballardini, Elena Tomba, Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti, Chiara Mameli, Rachele De Giuseppe, Hellas Cena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Disordered eating behaviors (DEBs), including diagnosable eating disorders, are quite common and can interfere with optimal type 1 diabetes (T1DM) management. We explored DEBs prevalence in youth with T1DM, proposing news diagnostic subscales, to represent the clinical dimensions associated with feeding and eating disorders (ED); Methods: additionally to SCOFF questionnaire and Diabetes Eating Problem Survey-Revised (DEPS-R), four subscales combined from the original DEPS-R questionnaire were administered to 40 youths with T1DM (15.0 ± 2.6); Results: females showed higher scores than males in DEPS-R original factor 2 ("preoccupations with thinness/weight", p = 0.024) and in DEPS-R proposed "restriction" factor (p = 0.009). SCOFF scores was correlated with original DEPS-R factors 1 ("maladaptive eating habits") and 2 (p < 0.001) and with the newly proposed DEPS-R factors: restriction, disinhibition, compensatory behaviors, diabetes management (all p < 0.02). Diabetes management was the only factor related to glycated hemoglobin level (p = 0.006). Patients with high DEPS-R score (≥20) scored higher than patients with low (<20) DEPS-R score in DEPS-R original factors 1 (p < 0.001) and 2 (p = 0.002) as well as in the proposed factors including restriction, disinhibition, diabetes management (all p < 0.02); Conclusions: the complicated nature of DEBs calls for the development target specific questionnaires to be used as screening tools to detect cases of DEBs and exclude non cases. Early recognition of DEBs in adolescents with T1DM is essential for effective prevention and successful treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1044
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 3 2020


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