Dietary intake in population-based adolescents: Support for a relationship between eating disorder symptoms, low fatty acid intake and depressive symptoms

K. L. Allen, T. A. Mori, L. Beilin, S. M. Byrne, Siobhan Hickling, Wendy H. Oddy

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28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Relatively little is known about the dietary intake and nutritional status of community-based individuals with eating disorders. This research aimed to: (i) describe the dietary intake of population-based adolescents with an eating disorder and (ii) examine associations between eating disorder symptoms, fatty acid intake and depressive symptoms in adolescents with and without an eating disorder. Methods: Data were drawn from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, a population-based cohort study that has followed participants from birth to young adulthood. This research utilised self-report data from the 17-year Raine Study assessment. Participants comprised 429 female adolescents who completed comprehensive questionnaire measures on dietary intake, eating disorder symptoms and depressive symptoms. Results: Adolescents with an eating disorder (n = 66) reported a significantly lower intake of total fat, saturated fat, omega-6 fatty acid, starch, vitamin A and vitamin E compared to adolescents without an eating disorder (n = 363). Adolescents with an eating disorder and pronounced depressive symptoms (n = 23) also reported a significantly lower intake of polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid than adolescents with an eating disorder but no marked depression (n = 43). In the eating disorder sample but not the control sample, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid correlated significantly and negatively with eating disorder symptoms and with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Support is provided for a relationship between low omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intake and depressive symptoms in adolescents with eating disorders. Research is needed to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of fatty acid supplementation in this high-risk group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-469
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Fatty acids
  • Nutrition
  • Raine Study

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