They're the prime demographic for developing eating disorders, yet new research out of the University of Cincinnati suggests that it could be difficult for college students to notice the warning signs. On Oct. 31, Ashlee Hoffman, a UC doctoral student in health promotion and education, will present her research, titled, "University Students' Knowledge of An Ability to Identify Disordered Eating, Warning Signs and Risk Factors," at the American Public Health Association's 139th annual meeting and exposition in Washington, DC.
Disordered eating, Hoffman explains, involves unhealthy habits over time that can lead up to, but may not yet fit the medical diagnoses of an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia.
Hoffman's poster research presentation is based on her survey of 428 college students. The survey examined whether they could differentiate between the myths and facts surrounding disordered eating, as well as the risk factors and warning signs.
The survey also revealed that one out of four survey participants reported "lifetime involvement in disordered eating," and that 50 percent of the participants knew someone who had an eating disorder.
Hoffman says the majority of the study participants could identify the most common risk factors associated with disordered eating, such as depression and anxiety. However, the students who reported longtime disordered eating were the most unlikely group among males, females, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors to correctly identify risk factors.
The study also found that only a moderate percentage of the students surveyed could identify other risk factors that could trigger disordered eating, such as a recent life change, a critical family member or involvement in a sport that emphasizes being lean.
Females were significantly more likely than males to know risk factors as well as warning signs of disordered eating, such as abnormal weight loss, purging and
|Contact: Dawn Fuller|
University of Cincinnati