Weight suppression and weight elevation are associated with eating disorder symptomatology in women age 50 and older: Results of the gender and body image study

Erica L. Goodman, Jessica H. Baker, Christine M. Peat, Zeynep Yilmaz, Cynthia M. Bulik, Hunna J. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Weight suppression (WS), the difference between highest past non-pregnancy weight and current weight, predicts negative outcomes in eating disorders, but the impact of WS and related weight constructs are understudied in nonclinical, midlife populations. We examined WS (current weight < highest weight) and weight elevation (WE), the opposite of WS (current weight > lowest weight) and their associations with eating psychopathology in women aged 50+. Method: Participants were a community-based sample (N = 1,776, Mage = 59) who completed demographic and eating psychopathology questions via online survey. WS, WE, and WS × WE were tested as predictors of outcome variables; BMI and medical conditions that affect weight were controlled for. Results: Individuals that were higher on WS and WE were most likely to engage in current weight loss attempts, dieting in the past 5 years, and extreme lifetime restriction. Individuals with higher WS were more likely to experience binge eating, greater frequency of weight checking, overvaluation of shape and weight, and lifetime fasting. Individuals with higher WE were more likely to report negative life impacts of eating and dieting. Higher WS and WE each predicted higher levels of skipping meals over the lifetime. Discussion: This novel study investigated WS in midlife women and introduced a new conceptualization of weight change (WE) that may be more relevant for aging populations given that women tend to gain weight with age. The findings implicate the utility of investigating both WS and WE as factors associated with eating psychopathology in midlife women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume51
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

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