The Connection Between Vegetarianism and Eating Disorders

by ckeat1 on Novembre 4, 2013 - 9:41pm

      Would you believe it if I told you that there could be a link between eating disorders and vegetarianism? In the article ‘The Inter-Relationships Between Vegetarianism and Eating Disorders Among Females’, the authors make it clear that this relationship is a growing trend. In this case study, individuals with and without an eating disorder history and individuals with different stages of eating disorder recovery were compared on past and current vegetarianism and motivations for and age at becoming vegetarian. Participants in this study were 96 female eating disorder patients (ages 16 and older) seen at the University of Missouri Pediatric and Adolescent Specialty Clinic. Non-eating disorder controls were recruited as a sample from the university campus via fliers and psychology classes. All participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire and were also interviewed. At the end of this case study, it was found that significantly more females with an eating disorder history reported that their reason for practicing vegetarianism was motivated by wanting to lose or maintain weight. Also, those who reported there was a relation reported that being vegetarian helped them lose weight and maintain the eating disorder and also provided another way to eliminate calories and feel “in control”. In the eating disorder group, vegetarianism is most prominent among those recovered from anorexia nervosa. As concluded in this article, having a history of an eating disorder is associated with greater likelihood of having been (or currently being) vegetarian and having been primarily motivated by weight-related reasons.

       The main inferences/conclusions in this article are that people with eating disorders would, without a doubt, take advantage of the concept of vegetarianism to avoid having to eat the same amount of food as non-vegetarians do. Being a vegetarian myself, I found this article very interesting. I had never thought about there being a connection between eating disorders and vegetarianism. However, could this be insulting to true vegetarians, who do not eat meat because they think it is wrong to hurt animals? Do they think it is wrong to manipulate this practice for personal problems?


Bardone-Cone, A., Fitzsimmons-Craft, E.,Harney, M., Lawson, M.,Maldonado, C., Robinson, P., Smith, R. (2012). The Inter-Relationships Between Vegetarianism and Eating Disorders Among Females. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vol. 112, Number 8. 1247-1252.