Epidemiological Research in Eating Disorders

​Principle investigator, assoc. prof.  Susanne Vinkel Kock.

Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa are severe psychiatric disorders that affect 1-3% of the population. Particularly young women aged 15-25 years are at risk of developing and eating disorder, whereas 10-13% of the affected individuals are males. About 50% will recover, but the rest may have more prolonged courses of disease, and a small group of about 20% will develop a chronic disease. However, studies indicate that younger individuals have a better prognosis.

The causes of these disorders are not yet fully understood, but are most likely complex and an interplay between genetic, biological, cultural, social factors and psychological factors. Therefore, there is a need to know more about how these factors influence the development of eating disorders (aetiology), which factors maintain the eating disorder (risk factors), and which protect against the development  of the disorder or are more favorable, when it comes to effect of treatment (resilience factors).

To approach this goal we use the Danish Patient Registries, which are unique (for Denmark and the other Nordic Countries) and of good quality. They enable us to study the total Danish population, both sexes and all age-groups.

Furthermore, we plan to invite patients with anorexia or bulimia nervosa, who receive treatment in the Capital Region, to be part of research projects with the aim to improve the course of disease and establish more efficacious treatments.

Responsible editor