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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108


PEREIRA, Luiza do Nascimento Ghizoni; TREVISOL, Fabiana Schuelter; QUEVEDO, João  and  JORNADA, Luciano Kurtz. Eating disorders among health science students at a university in southern Brazil. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.1, pp.14-19.  Epub Apr 08, 2011. ISSN 0101-8108.

OBJECTIVES: To analyze eating disorders among female university students and to assess the frequency of bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and inappropriate weight loss strategies in this population. METHODS: The sample comprised 214 female university students attending different health science programs at a university in southern Brazil, aged over 18 years, assessed using self-administered questionnaires. The 26-item version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE), and a supplementary questionnaire covering data on weight status and inappropriate weight loss strategies were used to assess dietary abnormalities. RESULTS: Mean age (± standard deviation) was 21±9.93 years, and mean body mass index (BMI) was 21.1±2.59. Among the respondents, 72.9% said they would like to weigh less, 29% reported the use of different weight loss methods (diuretics were the most common, followed by laxatives, amphetamine-derived drugs, and self-induced vomiting). With regard to EAT-26 scores, 22.4% (95%CI 17.7-27.1) revealed abnormal feeding patterns; BITE indicated that 9.8% (95%CI 6.5-13.1) were at risk for developing bulimia and 36.9% (95%CI 31.5-42.3) required clinical evaluation. Mean BMI was lower among students with normal scores on both tests, but no association was found between BMI and satisfaction with own weight. CONCLUSION: There was a strong trend toward eating disorders in the health science students assessed, as demonstrated by EAT-26 and BITE scores; inadequate weight loss strategies are frequently used as well.

Keywords : Eating disorders; anorexia; bulimia; students, health occupations.

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