Disturbed Eating Behavior and Omission of Insulin in Adolescents Receiving Intensified Insulin Treatment

A nationwide population-based study

  1. Øyvind Rø, MD, PHD1
  1. 1Regional Eating Disorders Service, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Research Centre for Child and Youth Competence Development, Lillehammer University College, Lillehammer, Norway
  3. 3The Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Registry, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4Department of Pediatrics, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Lillehammer, Lillehammer, Norway
  5. 5Department of Pediatric Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  6. 6Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  7. 7Oslo Diabetes Research Centre, Oslo, Norway
  1. Corresponding author: Line Wisting, line.wisting{at}


OBJECTIVE To establish the prevalence of disturbed eating behavior (DEB) and insulin omission among adolescents with type 1 diabetes using intensive insulin treatment in a nationwide population-based study.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The Diabetes Eating Problem Survey–Revised (DEPS-R) is a diabetes-specific screening tool for DEB. Clinical data and HbA1c were obtained from the Norwegian Childhood Diabetes Registry.

RESULTS A total of 770 children and adolescents 11–19 years of age with type 1 diabetes completed the DEPS-R. A total of 27.7% of the females and 8.6% of the males scored above the DEPS-R cutoff. Participants scoring above the cutoff had significantly higher HbA1c (9.2% [77 mmol/mol]; SD, 1.6) than participants scoring below the cutoff (8.4% [68 mmol/mol]; SD, 1.3; P < 0.001). The prevalence of DEB increased significantly with age and weight, from 7.2% in the underweight group to 32.7% in the obese group, and from 8.1% in the youngest age group (11–13 years) to 38.1% in the oldest age group (17–19 years). A total of 31.6% of the participants reported insulin restriction and 6.9% reported insulin omission after overeating. Patients reporting insulin restriction had significantly higher HbA1c (9.0% [75 mmol/mol]; SD, 1.7) than nonrestrictors (8.3% [67 mmol/mol]; SD 1.2; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS One-fourth of girls with type 1 diabetes scored above the cutoff for DEB and one-third reported skipping their insulin dose entirely at least occasionally after overeating. Both DEB and insulin restriction were associated with poorer metabolic control, which may increase the risk of serious late diabetes complications.

  • Received February 21, 2013.
  • Accepted May 2, 2013.

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This Article

  1. Diabetes Care
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