Clinical Characteristics of Inpatients with Childhood vs. Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa

We aimed to compare the clinical data at first presentation to inpatient treatment of children (<14 years) vs. adolescents (≥14 years) with anorexia nervosa (AN), focusing on duration of illness before hospital admission and body mass index (BMI) at admission and discharge, proven predictors of the outcomes of adolescent AN. Clinical data at first admission and at discharge in 289 inpatients with AN (children: n = 72; adolescents: n = 217) from a German multicenter, web-based registry for consecutively enrolled patients with childhood and adolescent AN were analyzed. Inclusion criteria were a maximum age of 18 years, first inpatient treatment due to AN, and a BMI <10th BMI percentile at admission. Compared to adolescents, children with AN had a shorter duration of illness before admission (median: 6.0 months vs. 8.0 months, p = 0.004) and higher BMI percentiles at admission (median: 0.7 vs. 0.2, p = 0.004) as well as at discharge (median: 19.3 vs. 15.1, p = 0.011). Thus, in our study, children with AN exhibited clinical characteristics that have been associated with better outcomes, including higher admission and discharge BMI percentile. Future studies should examine whether these factors are actually associated with positive long-term outcomes in children.


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