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To determine the impact of specialized treatments, relative to comparator treatments, upon the weight and psychological symptoms of anorexia nervosa (AN) at end-of-treatment (EOT) and follow-up.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) between January 1980 and December 2017 that reported the effects of at least two treatments on AN were screened. Weight and psychological symptoms were analyzed separately for each study. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines were followed, and studies were assessed using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) criteria and Cochrane risk of bias tool.
We identified 35 eligible RCTs, comprising data from 2524 patients. Meta-analyses revealed a significant treatment effect on weight outcomes at EOT [g = 0.16, 95% CI (0.05–0.28), p = 0.006], but not at follow-up [g = 0.11, 95% CI (−0.04 to 0.27), p = 0.15]. There was no significant treatment effect on psychological outcomes at either EOT [g = −0.03, 95% CI (−0.14 to 0.08), p = 0.63], or follow-up [g = −0.001, 95% CI (−0.11 to 0.11), p = 0.98]. There was no strong evidence of publication bias or significant moderator effects for illness duration, mean age, year of publication, comparator group category, or risk of bias (all p values > 0.05).
Current specialized treatments are more adept than comparator interventions at imparting change in weight-based AN symptoms at EOT, but not at follow-up. Specialized treatments confer no advantage over comparator interventions in terms of psychological symptoms. Future precision treatment efforts require a specific focus on the psychological symptoms of AN.
To test an obesity prevention strategy derived from behavioural economics (optimal defaults plus delay), focused on changing the college dining hall service method.
After a uniform pre-load, participants attended an experimental lunch in groups randomized to one of three conditions: a nutrient-dense, lower-fat/energy lunch as an optimal default (OD); a less-nutrient-dense, higher-fat/energy lunch as a suboptimal default (SD); or a free array (FA) lunch. In the OD condition, students were presented a menu depicting healthier vegetarian and omnivore foods as default, with opt-out alternatives (SD menu) available on request with a 15 min wait. In the SD condition, the same menu format was used with the positioning of food items switched. In the FA condition, all choices were presented in uniform fonts and were available immediately.
Private rooms designed to provide a small version of a college dining hall, on two campuses of a Northeastern US university.
First-year college students (n 129).
There was a significant main effect for condition on percentage of optimal choices selected, with 94 % of food choices in the OD condition optimal, 47 % in the FA condition optimal and none in the SD condition optimal. Similarly, energy intake for those in the SD condition significantly exceeded that in the FA condition, which exceeded that in the OD condition.
Presenting menu items as optimal defaults with a delay had a significant impact on choice and consumption, suggesting that further research into its long-term applicability is warranted.
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