To examine the relationship of disordered eating behaviors and eating disorder (ED) diagnosis in young adults with health-related quality of life (HRQL) and to assess the presence of effect modification by gender.
In 2013, participants (N = 9440, ages 18–31 years) in the U.S. Growing Up Today Study cohort reported use of disordered eating behaviors (dieting, diet pills, laxatives, or vomiting to control weight; binge eating with loss of control) over the past year, plus a lifetime history of ED diagnosis. The relative risk (RR) of less-than-full health (EQ-5D-5L health utility score < 1) and of any impairment (score > 1 on EQ-5D-5L dimensions) were compared across participants with and without disordered eating or ED diagnosis, using cross-sectional multivariable regression controlling for confounders. The association between HRQL and disordered eating or ED diagnosis was assessed using multivariable linear regression with the subsample reporting less-than-full health. The presence of effect modification by gender was also examined.
Disordered eating behaviors and ED diagnosis were associated with significantly increased risk of less-than-full health. A significant gender interaction was found for only one variable—ED diagnosis; men who reported ever having received a diagnosis experienced worse decrements in HRQL than did women. Inclusion of BMI in estimation models revealed small attenuations. Across the weight spectrum, the presence of ED was associated with impairment across all EQ-5D-5L dimensions, except self-care.
Disordered eating behaviors and a lifetime history of ED diagnosis are associated with significant decrements in HRQL, but only ED diagnosis is associated with a significant effect modification by gender.