To analyze factors associated with susceptibility to the development of eating disorders in medical interns.
This is an analytical cross-sectional study with a quantitative approach. Two questionnaires were applied, one with sociodemographic data and the other with the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), which is a psychometric instrument to screen eating disorders.
A total of 162 internal students were included in the research. Higher EAT-26 scores were found in females on the diet scale (D) (p=0.0079), which shows a pathological refusal to hypercaloric foods and an excessive concern with fitness, bulimia scale and concern with food (B) (p=0.0014) and overall EAT-26 score (p=0.0005). Higher D-scores were found in working and studying students (p=0.0278) and overweight students (p=0.0297). Those who reported being on some form of diet had higher scores on the D scale (p<0.0001), the B scale (p=0.0300) and the overall score (p=0.0001). Those who said they were concerned about the number of calories had higher scores on the D scale (p<0.0001), B scale (p=0.0010) and overall score (p<0.0001). Those who reported being afraid of getting fat scored higher on the D scale (p<0.0001), B scale (p=0.0001), overall score (p<0.0001), whereas those not afraid of getting fat scored higher on the oral control (CO) scale (p=0.0149), which reflects self-control associated with food and recognizes social influences of the individual’s environment in relation to food intake, as well as those underweight (p=0.0042). Anxiety patients obtained higher scores on the D scale (p=0.0356), B scale (p=0.0266) and overall score (p=0.0310).
Higher scores on the EAT-26 scale were evidenced in medical interns who are female, who work and study, and in overweight patients. Furthermore, following a specific diet, being concerned about the amount of calories consumed, being afraid of getting fat, being anxious, sad and dissatisfied with one’s own body were also factors associated with higher scores. All of these factors can be related to an increased risk of these students developing eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Medical Students; Eating Disorders; Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa