Sarah E. Overby, Nathan Adams, Jillian Poles, Lee Stoner, FACSM. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

BACKGROUND: 30 million people are diagnosed with eating disorders in the United States alone. Within this population, 35-41% of patients relapse within 18 months of the start of treatment. Eating disorder patients are often restricted from exercise since many compulsively over exercise at a high intensity. However, the effect of occasional low-intensity exercise during eating disorder treatment has not been studied in association with relapse rate. Therefore, this proposed study intends to investigate the impact of low-intensity, trainer-led walking on relapse rate in hospitalized eating disorder patients. METHODS: In the Spring of 2022, 50 male and 50 female patients at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Excellence in Eating Disorders (UNC CEED) will be recruited at their time of admission for treatment. 25 males and 25 females will be randomly assigned to either a control group or an experimental group. The control group will undergo UNC CEED’s standard inpatient program, which would include cognitive behavioral therapy, meal planning with a dietician, and physical check-ins with a physician, according to their individual needs. The experimental group will undergo the same standard inpatient program based on their individual needs while also incorporating low intensity walking two times a week. Low intensity walking will be performed outside, in a group with a therapist/trainer, at less than 3 metabolic equivalents (METS), or no greater than 2.5 miles per hour. All participants will continue with their designated program until released from inpatient care, as determined by their treatment team. They will continue standard medical and nutritional check-ups and therapy sessions until 18 months from their admission date to determine if they have relapsed into eating disorder behaviors. Criteria for relapse will be based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. (DSM-V) criteria for an eating disorder diagnosis, and relapse will be defined as a patient in remission who once again meets DSM-V criteria within the 18-month study period. The difference in relapse rate between overall control and experimental groups will be analyzed via an independent t-test (α=0.05). ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We expect that relapse rate in the experimental group with the walking intervention will be lower than in the controlled groups after 18 months of treatment and observation.

This document is currently not available here.