Compulsive exercise to control shape or weight in eating disorders: prevalence, associated features, and treatment outcome

Riccardo Dalle Grave, Simona Calugi, Giulio Marchesini
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2008, 49 (4): 346-52

OBJECTIVE: The study was aimed at assessing the prevalence of compulsive exercising to control shape and weight in eating disorders (EDs) and its relationship with treatment outcome.

METHOD: Compulsive exercising to control shape and weight, defined according to a modified version of the Intense Exercising to Control Shape or Weight section of the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE), was assessed in 165 consecutive ED inpatients entering a protocol based on the transdiagnostic cognitive behavior theory and treatment of EDs. Baseline assessment also included anthropometry, the global EDE interview, the Beck Depression Inventory, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Eating Disorders Inventory-Perfectionism Scale, and the Temperament and Character Inventory.

RESULTS: Of the patients, 45.5% were classified as compulsive exercisers, the prevalence being highest (80%) in restricting-type anorexia nervosa (AN), lowest in EDs not otherwise specified (31.9%), and intermediate in binge/purging AN (43.3%) and in purging-type bulimia nervosa (39.3%). Compulsive exercising to control shape and weight was independently predicted by the EDE restraint score (odds ratio, 1.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.64; P = .014) after adjustment for ED; the total amount of exercise was associated with EDE restraint, as well as with the Temperament and Character Inventory reward dependence. At follow-up, an improved EDE global score was predicted by lower baseline values, higher baseline STAI and STAI improvement, and lower amount of exercise in the last 4 weeks. Voluntary treatment discontinuation was not predicted by baseline exercise.

DISCUSSION: Compulsive exercising to control shape and weight is a behavioral feature of restricting-type AN, associated with restraint and temperament dimensions, with influence on treatment outcome.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"