Objective: To examine whether childhood body mass index (BMI) trajectories are prospectively associated with later eating disorder (ED) diagnoses. Method: Using a subsample from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (N = 1,502), random-coefficient growth models were used to compare premorbid BMI trajectories of individuals who later developed anorexia nervosa (n = 243), bulimia nervosa (n = 69), binge-eating disorder (n = 114), and purging disorder (n = 133) and a control group without EDs or ED symptoms (n = 966). BMI was tracked longitudinally from birth to 12.5 years of age and EDs were assessed at 14, 16, and 18 years of age. Results: Distinct developmental trajectories emerged for EDs at a young age. The average growth trajectory for individuals with later anorexia nervosa veered significantly below that of the control group before 4 years of age for girls and 2 years for boys. BMI trajectories were higher than the control trajectory for all other ED groups. Specifically, the mean bulimia nervosa trajectory veered significantly above that of controls at 2 years for girls, but boys with later bulimia nervosa did not exhibit higher BMIs. The mean binge-eating disorder and purging disorder trajectories significantly diverged from the control trajectory at no older than 6 years for girls and boys. Conclusion: Premorbid metabolic factors and weight could be relevant to the etiology of ED. In anorexia nervosa, premorbid low weight could represent a key biological risk factor or early manifestation of an emerging disease process. Observing children whose BMI trajectories persistently and significantly deviate from age norms for signs and symptoms of ED could assist the identification of high-risk individuals.
|Tidsskrift||Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|Status||Udgivet - feb. 2019|