Eating Disorders: Risk for

Eating disorders are associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and suffering. One eating disorder in particular, anorexia nervosa (AN), is resistant to treatment and has the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. Researchers have tried to identify the causal mechanisms of eating disorders, as such knowledge can inform treatment, prevention, and policy.

A risk factor is an event, experience, or characteristic that precedes the onset of a condition. A variable risk factor is changeable (as opposed to sex, generally) and can be a target for prevention efforts. A risk factor that is both causal and variable is one that, when altered, leads to a corresponding change in risk for the disorder.

A risk factor may also be general or specific. For example, early sexual trauma ...

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