EXCLUSIVE: Study highlights diabulimia in male teens

By Editor
9th March 2017
Charity, NICE Research

Research has shown evidence that the eating disorder diabulimia also affects teenage men. 

Diabulimia is a condition where people with type 1 diabetes omit taking the correct dosage of insulin in a bid to lose weight.

Previous research has looked at the association between woman and the disorder, but now a German study has found that 11.2 per cent of young teenage men aged between 11-19 are also suffering from the condition.

As the condition has become more prevalent, diabulimia has been recognised in the latest NICE guidance for eating disorders. Diabetes UK also released a position statement about the condition at the charity’s annual Professional Conference.

They key points of Diabetes UK’s position statement are:

  • Diabulimia is not a recognised medical or psychiatric term, but describes the practice of reducing or omitting insulin in order to lose weight.
  • In has been suggested that 40 per cent of women with type 1 diabetes may omit or reduce insulin to lose weight and 11 per cent of adolescent boys.
  • Diabulimia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
  • Awareness of the signs and consequences of diabuliami must be raised with friends and family of people with type 1, and with healthcare professionals.
  • Appropiate support and treatment must be available to people with diabulimia.

Professor Khalida Ismail runs the UK’s first ever diabetes and eating disorder service. She already leads the UK’s largest diabetes and mental health clinic at King’s College in London, and has been uniting psychiatrists and diabetes experts together so they can offer help and guidance to those suffering from diabulimia.

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