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Eating Disorder Risk Factors: a BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL perspective

I view eating disorders from a BIOPSYCHOSOCIAL perspective. This model looks at the role biology, psychology, and social/environmental factors play in each individual’s eating disorder. While there are many risk factors for eating disorders, each disorder stems from common issues.

Each person, even with the same disease, may present differently. Their experiences and symptoms may not be the same. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and OSFED are different. Still, researchers find similar risk factors for them.

Risk Factors Common to Many Eating Disorders:

The risk factors for Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and OSFED include:


  1. Having a close family member with an eating disorder and/or mental health condition

  2. history of dieting behavior

  3. negative energy balance (i.e. burning more calories than you take in)

  4. Type I Diabetes


  1. perfectionism

  2. body image concerns

  3. low self-esteem

  4. history of an anxiety disorder


  1. weight Stigma

  2. being teased or bullied

  3. the social construct that there is an “ideal body” weight/shape

  4. acculturation

  5. lack of a big social network or social support group

  6. historical trauma

Knowing these common risk factors may help you make better, more informed decisions about whether your eating deserves a closer look. If you are concerned about your eating habits or those of someone you love, this screening tool from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) may help you decide what to do next. Still I Run is not affiliated with the NEDA. The information Still I Run provides is not a substitute for professional help. We offer eating disorder information to help our members stay healthy and strong. We care about you!


By Shoshana Gordon

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