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Eating disorders in middle aged women: A review

26 July 2013


In regard to eating disorders, most research to date has focused on adolescents and young women. In recent years, there has been an increase in individuals over 40 seeking treatment for eating disorders. A more comprehensive understanding of eating disorders is needed across all age ranges. This review is based on a comprehensive online search for published studies on eating disorders among middle age women. Forty-four studies, published between 1974 and 2012, were found. Predictors and risk factors, clinical features, psychological correlates, comorbid diagnoses, BMI, physical repercussions, and assessment and treatment concerns are considered in respect to eating disorders in middle-aged women. Research findings are mixed and indicate that severity of some related issues may improve or lessen with aging (e.g. body image dissatisfaction) while others may arise or worsen (e.g. aging anxiety, cognitive processing biases). However, it is evident that middle age is associated with different clinical features, risk factors, psychological correlates, comorbid diagnoses, BMI effects, physical repercussions, and assessment and treatment demands.


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