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Prevalence of eating disorders among dietetics students: does nutrition education make a difference?



Prevalence of eating disorders among dietetics students: does nutrition education make a difference?



Journal of the American Dietetic Association 92(8): 949-953



Several studies have indicated that college students majoring in dietetics have more problems associated with food than do students majoring in other disciplines. If this is true, dietetics students may need more counseling and education on eating disorders, especially because many will eventually be counseling others professionally. To assess the prevalence of negative eating behaviors among college dietetics majors, surveys based on the Eating Pattern Questionnaire were distributed to college women with majors in dietetics and other selected disciplines at a medium-sized California university. Two surveys were administered 1 year apart; the first was distributed to junior and senior women only, and the second was distributed to women of all class levels. Results from the first survey revealed that the incidence of eating disorders was not greater among the dietetics majors than among the other selected majors. In fact, dietetics majors often had more positive responses to questionnaire items, which suggests that dietetics students have better eating habits and fewer eating disorders. The results of the second survey, however, indicated that dietetics majors had significantly more negative eating patterns than did students from other majors. When separated by class, junior and senior dietetics majors had significantly more positive eating habits than did freshmen dietetics majors. These findings imply that junior and senior dietetics majors may have more positive eating patterns than freshmen dietetics majors as a result of their increased exposure to nutrition information.

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Accession: 013176488

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PMID: 1640037


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