Reasons for admission and variance of body weight at referral in female inpatients with anorexia nervosa in Germany

Background: Body mass index (BMI) at hospital admission in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) represents a prognostic marker for mortality, chronicity and future body weight. The current study focused on the associations between BMI standard deviation score (BMI-SDS) at admission and reasons for seeking inpatient treatment. Further interest was given to the relationship between premorbid weight and weight at admission, as well as the effect of both weight at referral and reasons for admission on treatment outcome.

Methods: Data ascertained in the German Register of Children and Adolescents with AN were analysed to assess the parental and patient overlap for 23 predefined reasons for admission, using factor analyses and regressions models.

Results: Complete parent-patient data sets were available for 360 patients out of 769. The highest consensus rates between parents and patients were obtained for weight and eating behavior related reasons and hyperactivity. Based on factor analysis, four factors emerged. Premorbid BMI-SDS, age and ‘low body weight’ as stated by patients or parents explained almost 40% of the variance of the BMI-SDS at admission.

Conclusions: Results underscore the relevance of age and premorbid BMI for BMI at admission. Only single reasons for admission explained further variance, with ‘low body weight’ having the largest effect. Approximately 40% of the variance of BMI-SDS was explained. For the first time, the effect of premorbid BMI for BMI at admission was robustly demonstrated in a multicenter study. Of the variance in BMI-SDS at discharge, our model could explain 37%, with reasons for admission having a small effect. Further investigation of the reasons for admission would be worthwhile to improve treatment and prognosis.


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