Objectives: To find out the proportion of patients with morbid obesity who may have co-existing eating disorders, using EAT-26 (Eating Attitude Test) Questionnaire.
Method: All patients who attended the specialist morbid obesity clinic, between January 2005 and December 2007, at a university hospital were included in the study. EAT -26 questionnaires were given to the patients at the time of their referral. The specialist dietician took responsibility for distribution and scoring of the questionnaires. A cut off score of 20, on EAT -26 was considered as requiring further investigations for the presence of an eating disorder.
Results: Three hundred and eighteen questionnaires were administered. Two hundred and fifty nine (81%) questionnaires were returned; of which 179 respondents (69%) were females and 80 (31%) were males. Mean BMI was 48.3 (48.1 for females and 48.5 for males). Sixty-five (25%) patients scored >20, 58 (89%) females and 7 (11%) males. These patients were referred to clinical psychology service for further assessment.
Conclusion: Our results show high prevalence of eating disorder characteristics in patients with morbid obesity. As the presence of eating disorder is associated with management difficulties and a worse outcome after bariatric surgery, it is important that all morbidly obese patients are psychologically assessed in routine clinical care.