Eating disorder and sexual maturation: A review of literature

Ilaria Cipresso, Paolo Cotrufo


To start from scientific literature which investigates the relevance of puberty in the onset of the eating disorder, we did a “review” of our research and of the “case reports” on the eating disorder in which was indicated the age of the menarche. Our the hypothesis was that the early of puberty development could be a risk factor for onset a eating disorder.
The selection of the studies to be considered in the bibliographic review was done by entering the keywords: “eating disorders”, “menarche”, “anorexia”, “bulimia”, “age of menarche”, “early-onset menarche”, in the follow search engines: PubMed, PEP-Web. We choose the articles who reported the presence of a diagnosis and the articles who reported elevated risk factors for the developments of eating disorder and the case reports. Such studies had to contain the age of menarche.
The searches that met the defined requirements in our methodology were 34. Between these we have 8 studies on clinical sample, 5 on nonclinical sample. Most of the studies and of the considered case reports reveals a link between body dissatisfaction during puberty and the onset of a eating disorder.
Conclusion: Puberty is confirmed to be a risk factor for eating disorders, with convincing evidence on anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Early-onset menarche as a risk factor for onset of eating disorders is still a scientific and controversial argument and worthy of further and more accurate studies.


eating disorders; anorexia; bulimia; age of menarche; early-onset menarche.

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