EATus: Eating disorders- Understanding the spectral nature, course of symptoms and etiology
Eating disorders (EDs) are serious psychiatric illnesses marked by chronicity, relapse, distress, and functional impairment. Individuals with EDs have high psychiatric co-morbidity and risk of premature death and only 40-60% achieve recovery. It has been estimated that up to 70%, and maybe 80% among adolescents, of individuals with EDs never seek treatment, and those who seek treatment have been ill for years before doing so. This is a tremendous challenge, as the sooner an ED is identified and treatment initiated, the better prognosis for full recovery.
The EATus program will investigate whether there is empirically evidence for a spectral nature of EDs, develop algorithms to predict for whom early symptoms will persist, progress into EDs or resolve across adolescence, and finally explore the etiological mechanisms underlying EDs.
The EATus program will use data from the Danish National Birth Cohort that includes items from validated instruments, applied in other population-based samples, to collect information on weight, shape, muscularity concerns, binge eating, self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives, and use of supplements or steriods to build up muscles. Further, the cohort will be linked to nation-wide registries to get data on any hospital contact with any form of EDs, and any other relevant health or social data.