Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research examines college students' knowledge about eating disorders

Date:
November 22, 2011
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
They're the prime demographic for developing eating disorders, yet new research suggests that it could be difficult for college students to notice the warning signs of disordered eating.

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.

Related Articles


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 distorted body image.

Hoffman's survey also found that college freshmen and sophomores were more familiar with the primary risk factors than upperclassmen and graduate students.

Figures from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2004 found that eating disorders affected 24 million Americans -- with the majority of sufferers between the ages of 12 and 25. "Eating disorders hold the highest death rate out of any mental illness affecting this age group, with a large number of cases ending in suicide," Hoffman says. "The survey also found that some students mistakenly believe disordered eating is a vanity issue, when in fact, it is a compulsive, addictive behavior that sufferers can use as a coping mechanism for stress."

Hoffman says that her future research will explore how to better educate college-age students about identifying disordered eating, as well as how to open the doors of communication with friends who they suspect might be struggling with disordered eating. "It's an issue that's been long perceived as a taboo subject, partly because of the efforts that people make in hiding disordered eating," Hoffman says. "If it's not appropriately addressed in conversation, it can make the problem even worse."

Secondary researchers on the study were Keith King, UC professor of health promotion and education, and Rebecca Vidourek, UC assistant professor of human services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Research examines college students' knowledge about eating disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031120245.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2011, November 22). Research examines college students' knowledge about eating disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031120245.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Research examines college students' knowledge about eating disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031120245.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins