Researchers have found that people with eating disorders are 12 times more likely to be preoccupied with perceived flaws in their physical appearance than those without.
According to the researchers, body dysmorphia can result in anxiety, stress, and reduced quality of life.
“While sufferers of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, share similar traits to those with body dysmorphia, research into any correlation between the two is sparse,” said study author Mike Trott from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK.
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“Healthcare professionals working with people with body dysmorphia should screen them for eating disorders regularly, as this research shows a strong correlation between the two,” Trott added.
For the study, published in the journal Eating and Weight Disorders, the research team surveyed more than 1,600 health club members recruited via social media.
They found the number of people with body dysmorphic disorder – a mental condition marked by an obsession with perceived flaws in appearance which are not noticed by others – was 12 times higher among people with suspected eating disorders.
Around 30 percent of participants had indicated eating disorders, and the researchers noted that 76 percent of those people also suffered from body dysmorphia.
The paper also found no significant associations between body dysmorphia, sexuality, and social media use, although there was an association with gender, with women being more likely to show symptoms of body dysmorphia.
“This study provides more evidence of the complex relationship that exists between body dysmorphic disorder and eating disorders,” the researchers wrote.
“Furthermore, it is recommended that people working with body dysmorphia should screen for eating disorders due to the high morbidity associated with eating disorders,” they noted. (IANS)