From the Journals

Eating disorders may add to poor type 2 control, but BMI confounds the issue



Type 2 diabetes patients with binge-eating psychopathology had worse glycemic control than did type 2 diabetes patients without eating disorders, but weight may be a modifying factor, according to a study of 70 outpatients with type 2 diabetes.

“Although the comorbidity of an ED [eating disorder] and T2DM [type 2 diabetes mellitus] has been observed across studies, the impact of this association on the clinical control of diabetes has been less consistent,” wrote Marcello Papelbaum, MD, of the State Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Rio de Janeiro and colleagues.

In an exploratory study published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, the researchers assessed consecutive diabetes patients at a single center. The patients were aged 18-65 years, 77% were women, and 50% were obese. Glycemic control of diabetes was assessed measuring the levels of fasting blood glucose (FBG) and hemoglobin A1c. A total of 14 patients had an eating disorder, and 7 of them had binge eating disorder (BED). The BED patients were combined with three bulimic patients and four patients with subclinical BED and classified as binge-eating related ED.

Although FBG and HbA1c were significantly worse in patients with an eating disorder, compared with patients with normal eating patterns, the significance disappeared when body mass index (BMI) was added to the regression model. “Specifically, normal-BMI individuals exhibited a rate of ED of 8%, contrasted with a 26% prevalence of ED in obese patients,” the authors stated.

The findings were limited by the exploratory study design, small sample size, and lack of controlling for multiple variables, the researchers noted.

However, “although the objective negative clinical impact of an ED on type 2 diabetes control is yet to be confirmed, is possible to speculate that the remission of binge episodes could play a major role in diabetes treatment,” they said.

The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.

SOURCE: Papelbaum M et al. J Eat Disord. 2019 Sep 6. doi: 10.1186/s40337-019-0260-4.

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