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Anorexics Can't Judge Own Body Size: Study

But they can size up others accurately, researchers noted

THURSDAY, Aug. 23, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- People with the eating disorder anorexia have difficulty judging their own body size but are able to size up others accurately, a small new study finds.

The study included 25 people with anorexia and 25 people without the disorder who were shown a door-like opening and asked to judge whether they or other people in the room could pass through it.

In earlier experiments, people with anorexia felt they could not pass through the door even if it was easily wide enough. In this study, people with anorexia were more accurate at judging whether other people could fit through the door than whether they could.

The researchers also found a link between the anorexia patients' ability to fit through the door and their body size prior to becoming anorexic. This suggests that people with anorexia may still think of themselves as having their previous size, said study author Dewi Guardia, of the University Hospital of Lille in France.

The study was published Aug. 22 in the journal PLoS One.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about eating disorders.

SOURCE: PLoS One, news release, Aug. 22, 2012
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