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Anorexia Nervosa

UPMC Content 3

Criteria for Diagnosing Anorexia Nervosa

Refusal or inability to maintain a normal body weight.


    • Adults: less than 85 percent of ideal body weight or a body mass index (BMI) of 17.5 or lower
    • Children: less than 85 percent of body weight expected for age and height or failure to gain weight during a growth period, leading to body weight less than 85 percent of that expected


  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
  • Body image disturbance
  • Denial of the seriousness of low weight
  • At least three skipped menstrual periods in a row (for females who have begun menstruating)

Subtypes of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Restricting: dietary restriction or exercise only
  • Binge eating/purging: binge eating, self-induced vomiting, or misuse of diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics (water pills) during the current episode of low body weight