There is a dearth of data regarding changes in dietary intake and physical activity over time that lead to inpatient medical treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN). Without such data, more effective nutritional therapies for patients cannot be devised. This study was undertaken to describe changes in diet and physical activity that precede inpatient medical hospitalization for AN in female adolescents. This data can be used to understand factors contributing to medical instability in AN, and may advance rodent models of AN to investigate novel weight restoration strategies. It was hypothesized that hospitalization for AN would be associated with progressive energy restriction and increased physical activity over time. 20 females, 11-19 years (14.3±1.8 years), with restricting type AN, completed retrospective, self-report questionnaires to assess dietary intake and physical activity over the 6 month period prior to inpatient admission (food frequency questionnaire, Pediatric physical activity recall) and 1 week prior (24 hour food recall, modifiable activity questionnaire). Physical activity increased acutely prior to inpatient admission without any change in energy or macronutrient intake. However, there were significant changes in reported micronutrient intake causing inadequate intake of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and pantothenic acid at 1 week versus high, potentially harmful, intake of Vitamin A over 6 months prior to admission. Subject report of significantly increased physical activity, not decreased energy intake, were associated with medical hospitalization for AN. Physical activity and Vitamin A and D intake should be carefully monitored following initial AN diagnosis, as markers of disease progression as to potentially minimize the risk of medical instability. © 2013 Higgins et al.
Higgins, J., Hagman, J., Pan, Z., & MacLean, P. (2013). Increased Physical Activity Not Decreased Energy Intake Is Associated with Inpatient Medical Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescent Females. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061559