HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Eating Disorders in Military and Veteran Men and Women: A Systematic Review

Article

This research examines symptoms of and how common eating disorders (EDs) are among military and veteran men and women. This research further identifies factors that may put these individuals at risk for the development of an ED, for the purposes of improving detection, intervention and treatment.

Abstract

Eating disorders (EDs) have serious consequences for psychological and physical health. They have high mortality rates and are among the most costly disorders to treat. However, EDs remain understudied in military and veteran populations. The aim of this review was to examine prevalence estimates and associated symptomatology of EDs among military and veteran men and women and to identify factors that may put these individuals at risk for the development of an ED, for the purposes of improving detection, intervention, and treatment. Studies included in this review reveal high prevalence estimates of EDs among military/veteran men and women. Unique features of military life may increase the risk for development of an ED, including: military sexual trauma, strict weight and physical fitness requirements, and combat exposure. A history of trauma was common in individuals diagnosed with an ED in military and veteran samples. The high rates of EDs among military and veteran samples underscore the importance of further research, as well as the importance of screening and intervention efforts, in these understudied populations.

Full Reference

Brooke A. Bartlett, Karen S. Mitchell, 2015, International Journal of Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders in Military and Veteran Men and Women: A Systematic Review, 48, 8, 1057-1069.