Short Communication

Differences between anorexia patients and participants of the Minnesota hunger experiment: Consequences for treatment

Greta Noordenbos*

Published: 29 January, 2021 | Volume 5 - Issue 1 | Pages: 001-002

The hunger experiment was carried out in 1944 by Anselm Keys and others in the American city of Minnesota. The aim was to investigate the consequences of starvation in order to be able to restore the health of hunger victims of the Second World War. How could they be treated in the best possible way to regain a healthy weight?

For this purpose 36 physical and psychosocial healthy young men were selected from a large group of men who refused to serve in the American Army. They were examined very carefully in the period before the hunger experiment which lasted 6 months. In this period they received only two mails a day with half of the number of calories they were used to eat. This period of malinutrition was followed by 3 months of refeeding. Not only their weight recovered quite well, but also the psychosocial consequences of starvation disappeared completely [1]. 

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.jatr.1001013 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


  1. Keys A, Brozek J, Henschel A, Mickelsen O, Taylor HL. The Biology of Human Starvation, University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota. 1950.
  2. Noordenbos G. Which criteria for recovery are relevant according to eating disorder patients and therapists. Eat Disord. 2011; 19: 441-451. PubMed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21932973/
  3. Noordenbos G. Recovery from Eating Disorders: A Guide for Clinicians and their Clients. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell. 2013.
  4. Noordenbos G. The Minnesota hunger experiment and anorexia nervosa. Dutch J Psychother. 2020; 246-225.

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