HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Rates and correlates of disordered eating among women veterans in primary care

Article

This articles examines symptoms of disordered eating among women veterans in primary care.

Abstract

Rates of disordered eating may be higher among women veterans than civilians, and are associated with co-occurring mental health (MH) conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol misuse. Although evidence suggests that these conditions are common in primary care settings, limited research has examined symptoms of disordered eating among women veterans in primary care. This study used a cross-sectional design to examine rates and MH correlates of disordered eating among women veterans treated in a primary care setting. Participants ( N  = 176) completed self-report measures of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors, depression, anxiety, PTSD, alcohol misuse, and military sexual trauma. Results indicated that women veterans were likely to report objective (35.8%) and subjective binge episodes (29.5%), as well as shape and weight concerns (36.4% and 23.3%, respectively). While, anxiety and PTSD were strongly associated with disordered eating, restraint, eating concerns, weight concerns, and shape concerns, military sexual trauma was often unrelated to these outcomes. Further study is needed to improve the detection of disordered eating behaviors among women veterans, as well as to identify effective management strategies in primary care. Overall, these findings suggest that integrated primary care (IPC) may be a useful setting to improve the detection and treatment of eating disorders, particularly by targeting binge eating and body dissatisfaction among women veterans within these settings. Highlights Disordered eating is common among women veterans, yet few studies have been done. Integrated primary care is an understudied setting to assess disordered eating. Objective and subjective binge episodes and shape/weight concerns were common. Anxiety and PTSD were most strongly associated with disordered eating. Military sexual trauma and alcohol misuse were unrelated to disordered eating.

Full Reference

Buchholz, Laura J. ; King, Paul R. ; Wray, Laura O. (2018). Rates and correlates of disordered eating among women veterans in primary care, Eating behaviors, Vol: 30, p.28-34.