Eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction among college students

Mara Cristina Lofrano-Prado, Wagner Luiz Prado, Mauro Virgílio Gomes Barros, Sandra Lopes de Souza


Introduction: Body image dissatisfaction and disordered eating behavior increase during college. Objectives: To identify symptoms of eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction in college students and to verify the relationship between eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 408 college students (283 females), aged 18-23y, enrolled in the first semester of health science in public universities from Recife-PE. Symptoms of eating disorders and body image dissatisfaction were assessed by self-report questionnaires (EAT-26, BITE, BES, BSQ). Results: Body image dissatisfaction was independently associated with a 22-fold increased risk for anorexia nervosa, 18-fold for bulimia nervosa and 25-fold for binge eating. Female college students (32.5%; CI95%=27.2-38.1%) have higher symptoms of eating disorders than males (18.4%; CI95%=12.3-25.9%). Specifically for bulimia, both females (26.1%; CI95%=21.3-31.5%) and males (21.6%; CI95%=15.1-29.5%) are at greater risk of developing this illness. Conclusion: The current findings provide preliminary evidence about risks of college health sciences students with body image dissatisfaction to develop eating disorders.


Anorexia nervosa; Body image; Bulimia nervosa; Prevention and control; Students.

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Conscientiae Saúde
ISSN: 1677-1028
e-ISSN: 1983-9324

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