Anorexia Nervosa


Data Source: 

Caroline Davis, Ph.D., York University, Kinesiology & Health Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada. Elizabeth Blackmore, M.A., Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada. Deborah Katzman, M.D., Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada. John Fox, Ph.D.


Dr. Peggy Ng, York University, or Nevin Chan, MA.

Study Subjects

  1. Adolescent AN Patients
    Female patients who were willing to participate in the study, were recruited from a tertiary-care inpatient eating disorder program at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children over a period of 4 years. All patients met diagnostic criteria for AN according to the DSM-IV (APA, 1994).
  2. Parents of AN Patients
    Some of the mothers and fathers the patients also took part in the study. Unfortunately, we were able to recruit considerably fewer patient fathers than patient mothers. In some cases, the mother was the single parent; in other cases, she was the primary visitor to the hospital and therefore contact with the father was difficult.
  3. Adolescent Control Participants
    Healthy female without a history of an eating disorder or other psychiatric disorders, and their parents were recruited from advertisements, posters, and informational letters to various school boards in the Toronto area inviting families with a teen-age daughter to take part in the study.
  4. Parents of Healthy Control Participants
    The mothers and the fathers of the healthy controls were also recruited.


AN patients were assessed within two weeks of their admission to hospital. Interviews with their parents took place in a private setting on the hospital ward. The interviews with the control participants (parents and their daughters) took place either at their home or at a laboratory at the university, whichever was more convenient. At the point of initial contact, all participants were told that the purpose of the study was to investigate relationships among exercising, dieting, and certain personality factors in young women and their families. The parents were told that they would be asked about their daughter䴜s physical activity history as a means of validating the information obtained from the child. Girls under 16 years of age provided verbal assent and then written consent from at least one parent. All parents participating in the study provided their own informed written consent. During a structured interview by Davis or her trained research assistant, general demographic information and the physical activity data were collected. Following that, participants were asked to complete the questionnaire measures. Each session lasted approximately an hour to an hour and a half.

Serial assessments of physical activity levels in adolescent patients with AN and their parents were obtained. 

Research Question: 

  1. Investigate the different developmental trajectories of physical activity in the patient (AN) and control groups.
  2. Do Female Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) with a propensity to lose weight reflect a family transmission where activity levels are high and over-consumption is avoided or discouraged. Does this behavioural profile increase risk for AN?


id          Subject ID number
group       1=patients, 2=controls
age         age to which measurement pertains; the last observation for each subject is at the time of interview
ageonset    age at onset of eating disorder
totpacht    total physical activity of child (as estimated by child) in minutes for the year
totpamot    total physical activity of mother (as estimated by mother) in minutes for the year
totpamrt    total physical activity of child (as estimated by mother) in minutes for the year
totpafat    total physical activity of father (as estimated by father) in minutes for the year
totpafrt    total physical activity of child (as estimated by father) in minutes for the year

Data Files: