The use of weight tables to categorize patients with eating disorders

Richard L. Pyle, James E. Mitchell, Elke D Eckert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the importance of correctly classifying eating disordered patients as to their weight. There seems to be no consistent approach to classification using the three most commonly used weight classification schemes: the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company tables of 1959 and 1983 and the DHEW weight tables of 1978. These three tables are discussed relative to their use in the classification of subjects as underweight, normal weight, or overweight. The tables and their various adjustments for heel height, clothing weight, and age are applied to 87 female patients coming to an eating disorder clinic. The percentage of subjects who were classified as underweight (range 16–71%), normal weight (range 25–51%), and overweight (range 3–33%) varied dramatically between tables and within tables using different applications. Differences between the tables based on height and age are discussed. Suggestions are made about the correct derivation and reporting of weight classification of subjects in research studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1986

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