CBS Local — Women suffering from eating disorders are more likely to commit crimes, especially theft, according to a new study. Researchers in Sweden say that of the nearly one million women they studied, those with eating disorders had more than twice the chance of having a criminal record.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, tracked over 950,000 Swedish women born between 1979 and 1998. Researchers say that 12 percent of women who were diagnosed with anorexia were found to have been convicted of theft. 18 percent of women with bulimia were also caught trying to steal. The study also points to women with eating disorders in Sweden as having a higher rate of convictions for other crimes as well.
The study found that only five percent of female Swedes who were not diagnosed with these disorders had a criminal record. Lead author of the study, Shuyang Yao from Karolinska Institute, says more investigations into the relationship between eating disorders and crime have to be conducted.
“Our results highlight forensic issues as an adversity associated with eating disorders. Criminal convictions can compound disease burden and complicate treatment,” Yao said.
According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, 20 million women in the United States suffer from eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating.