Several recent case reports have shown that anorexia nervosa and bulimia negatively affect glycemic control in diabetic patients. However, there have been no systematic studies to assess the prevalence of clinical or subclinical eating disorders among diabetic patients or to determine the impact of such disturbances on glycemic control. This study reports a survey of 202 adolescents, aged 12–18 yr, seen in the Diabetes Clinic, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, who were asked to complete the Binge Eating Scale (BES) and the EAT-26 questionnaire. Responses of diabetic patients to the EAT-26 questionnaire were compared with those of a nondiabetic control group and were related to measures of glycemic control. Diabetic subjects scored higher on the total EAT-26 than nondiabetic control subjects, ordinarily indicative of more eating pathology. However, diabetic subjects scored higher only on the dieting subscale of this questionnaire, probably reflecting adherence to the diabetes dietary regimen. Subjects with diabetes scored lower, or did not differ significantly, from nondiabetic control subjects on measures of oral control and bulimia. Among diabetic subjects, self-reported bulimic behaviors were related to poorer glycemic control. Patients with the highest scores on the BES had an average HbA1 of 13.1% compared with 11.8% for age- and sex-matched patients at the 50th percentile, and 10.8% for patients in the lowest 10th percentile. Further studies are needed to determine whether modification of these eating behaviors would improve glycemic control.

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