Eating Disorders in Lebanon: Directions for Public Health Action
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Research in the field of eating disorders (ED) is limited in the Middle East. The aim of the present study was to profile Lebanese ED outpatients. A mixed-method design was used. Clinicians across Lebanon filled individual questionnaires about their 2013 ED outpatients (n = 104) and participated in focus groups. Results showed that bulimia nervosa was the most prevalent ED (46.1 %) followed by anorexia nervosa (39.4 %) and binge eating (14.4 %). The emerging socio-demographic profile of the Lebanese ED patient was that of a single female young adult of middle to high socio-economic status with severe ED symptoms (amenorrhea, multiple purging behaviors) and depression. Also, there was a general delay in seeking help which made patient recovery more difficult. The present study emphasizes the critical need for a public health approach to ED awareness and could help in developing preventive and remedial educational programs targeting youth in Lebanon and the Middle East.
KeywordsEating disorders Outpatients Purging behaviors Clinical profile Middle East
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Lebanese American University. Written informed consent was obtained from all clinicians before they were enrolled in the study.
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