USPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Screening for Eating Disorders

Evidence insufficient to support a recommendation for or against screening adults, teens for eating disorders

TUESDAY, March 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that the current evidence is insufficient for making a recommendation for or against screening for eating disorders. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement, published in the March 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cynthia Feltner, M.D., M.P.H., from the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center in Research Triangle Park, and colleagues reviewed the evidence on screening for eating disorders for adolescents and adults. Data were included from 57 studies, with 10,773 participants; three studies (1,073 participants) were limited to adolescents. The researchers found that none of the studies directly assessed the benefits or harms of screening. Seventeen studies examined accuracy of screening tests. The SCOFF questionnaire had pooled sensitivity and specificity of 84 and 80 percent, respectively, in adults. Interventions for eating disorders were evaluated in 40 randomized controlled trials; none enrolled a population detected by screening. Reductions in symptom severity for binge-eating disorder were greater with lisdexamfetamine or topiramate compared with placebo, but rates of adverse effects were higher.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF concluded that the current evidence is inadequate for assessing the balance of benefits and harms for screening for eating disorders (I statement).

“There is not enough evidence about the potential benefits and harms of screening for eating disorders, particularly in the primary care setting with people who do not have signs, symptoms, or concerns,” USPSTF Vice Chair Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., said in a statement.

One author from the evidence review disclosed financial ties to Equip Health.

Evidence Report

Final Recommendation Statement

Editorial 1

Editorial 2

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