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Eating disorders and altered eating behaviors in adolescents of normal weight in a Spanish city

Eating disorders and altered eating behaviors in adolescents of normal weight in a Spanish city

Journal of Adolescent Health: Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine 28(4): 338-345

ISSN/ISBN: 1054-139X

PMID: 11287253

DOI: 10.1016/s1054-139x(00)00181-6

To study the prevalence of altered eating behaviors or eating disorder-related behaviors among adolescents of normal weight that do not fulfill criteria for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Cross-sectional study by means of a self-completed questionnaire (School of Nutrition of Granada, Spain) and measurement of weight and height in a population of 491 schoolchildren aged 14-18 years. The statistical inferences and estimation of risk are based on comparison of proportions and means test, and the relative inequality of prevalences. Of 491 adolescents of normal weight, 9% (females 2:1) were following diets; 42% presented "recurrent episodes of binging" with the sensation of loss of self-control; and 41%% avoided specific types of food. Overall, 46.2% presented altered eating behavior. Factors significantly associated with this were the occurrence of periods of food abstinence and the use of purgatives [confidence interval 95% (CI 95%) prevalence ratio (PR) 1.41-2.02]. Compensatory behaviors were present in 33% of the adolescents, predominantly in females (CI 95% PR 1.79-3.07). The prevalences of abnormal eating behaviors were 16.3% for those related to anorexia (A-RB) and 17.1% for those related to bulimia (B-RB), with a clear predominance of females (2:1) and public education. There seems to be a greater aesthetic concern among those with B-RB and more worry about weight among those with A-RB. A high proportion of adolescents with abnormal eating behaviors and an altered perception of body fat may currently be diagnosed as having atypical eating disorder" (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Revision) considering that their body mass index was within normal range.

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Accession: 003721109

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