Healthcare use and costs of adults with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in Taiwan

Mei Chih Meg Tseng, Chao Ying Tu, Yuan Ting Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to examine the health service use and healthcare costs of adults with anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) in Taiwan. Method: AN and BN cases between 2002–2013 were extracted from a national health insurance database. For each AN and BN case, we randomly selected 10 controls with no eating disorder, matched for sex, age, urbanization of residence, and year of medical visit. The percentage and frequency of health services use and costs in the year preceding and after the diagnosis of AN/BN were compared between groups. We used generalized linear models with gamma distribution and log link function to determine the effects of age, sex, and psychiatric comorbidities on the total cost adjusting for physical comorbidities and to calculate the mean cost difference between groups by using marginal and incremental effects. Results: Both individuals with AN and BN had significantly elevated healthcare utilization and costs compared to controls during the baseline and one-year period after diagnosis. Patients with AN had more than three times higher total costs (US $792) and patients with BN had two times higher total costs (US $320) than individuals without eating disorders. Comorbidity of depressive disorder and older age significantly increased healthcare costs among both individuals with AN and BN. Discussion: There are high medical and economic burdens of care for individuals with AN and BN. Early diagnosis and integrated care for eating disorders are important tasks to reduce disease burden in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • claims analysis
  • comorbidity
  • costs
  • services utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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