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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-56

A cross-sectional study on prevalence of eating disorder and body image disturbance among female undergraduate medical students

Department of Psychiatry, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences, Madhuranthagam, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
S Arumuganathan
Department of Psychiatry, Karpaga Vinayaga Institute of Medical Sciences, Madhuranthagam, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_13_20

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Background: Eating disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about bodyweight or shape. Female college students have been reported to be more keen to have a thinner figure than their male counterparts in both Western and Asian settings. This study aims to find the prevalence of eating disorders and body shape concerns among female undergraduate medical students in South India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to collect data from female undergraduate medical students of a private medical college in south India. Study instruments include a semi-structured pro forma, Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q 6.0), and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ 34). Descriptive analyses of sociodemographic variables and scores in the questionnaires were carried out. Results: One hundred and ninety-nine female students participated in the study were included for analysis. The mean age of the students was 20.4 years. Mean body mass index (BMI) score was found to be 23.78. On EDE-Q, 13.6% of students scored more than 5 suggesting presence of eating disorder. 61.9% had mild-to-moderate concerns on their body shape while 9% had severe concerns. BMI and body shape concerns positively correlated with subscales of eating disorder. Conclusion: This study showed significant presence of eating disorder symptoms and body image dissatisfaction among female college students. Addressing this subset of population with regards to these concerns may help prevent onset of mental health and behavioral problems in future.

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