RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Pilot study of a graded exercise program for the treatment of anorexia nervosa.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a graded exercise program used in the treatment of anorexia nervosa improves quality of life and does not decrease the rate of gain of body fat.

METHODS: A randomized controlled trial with outcome measures: change in percent body fat, body mass index (BMI), and Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form 36-item Quality of Life questionnaire.

RESULTS: Fifteen females and one male meeting the DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa were randomized. There was no difference in change in BMI or percent body fat at 3 months. Quality of life outcomes improved from baseline in the experimental group compared with the control group. However, this difference was not statistically significant.

DISCUSSION: Incorporation of a graded exercise program may increase compliance with treatment, but it did not reduce the short-term rate of gain of body fat or BMI. Longer studies with more subjects are necessary to determine the usefulness of a graded exercise program in anorexia nervosa.

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