Disordered Eating Affects Half of Diabetic Youth

Eating disorders can affect youths who also have type 2 diabetes.


Being young is difficult, but being young and diabetic can be even more of a challenge. Young people are constantly learning about themselves and the world around them, and it can be a confusing time for them. Having a chronic condition to deal with at the same time can add more complications to an already unstable situation.

For over half of the young people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, eating disorders add to the list of potential complications they will face. Disordered eating behaviors can include binging, bulimia, and anorexia in addition to other unhealthy eating habits.

Eating disorders and diabetes

Individuals who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are also affected by eating disorders, although not as much as people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes carries a host of complications, from potential heart and eye degeneration to nerve damage and weight gain. Diabetics may also experience symptoms of depression, which can be exacerbated by an eating disorder.

Research has been done on the kinds of eating disorders people with diabetes may be susceptible to. The American Psychological Association and the American Diabetes Association have developed a scale for monitoring potential eating disorder behaviors in youths with type 2 diabetes and are seeking to increase the number of doctors who are well versed in helping young people with diabetes and managing its complications.

Youth with diabetes

Younger patients with diabetes may be disproportionately affected by eating disorders because of the food-focused nature of their disease. So much of diabetes is about managing food and diet, which can become an obsession or a particularly strong point of focus.

Researchers and doctors recommend early identification of eating disorders to break the habit and establish a better diet and eating routine. Younger people’s bodies are still growing and developing, and an improper diet can have lasting health effects throughout their lives.


ANRED. Accessed June 11, 2017.


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