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MINERVA PEDIATRICA

A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
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Minerva Pediatrica 2002 April;54(2):139-46

language: Italian

Assessment of eating disorders-related risk in a cohort of adolescents living in northern Italy. Results from a multicentric study

Pellai A., Brizzi L., Curci R., Sancini S., Saporetti G., Speich S., Tosetto C.


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Background. Clinical evidence and epidemiological research show an increasing number of subjects trying to become lean and reaching consequently harmful weight conditions. Aim of this paper is to assess the risk for eating disorders during adolescence.
Methods. In a multicentric study high school students of 5 different districts of Northern Italy have been asked to fill up anonymously the Italian version of the American YRBSS (Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System) questionnaire. For each school a section has been selected and between January and March 1999, students of every level have been involved. The data enrollected have been analysed using EpiInfo6.
Results. The study involved 4135 adolescents (57% girls and 43% boys) coming from 260 classes and 47 different schools. The proportion of boys perceiving themselves as overweight and underweight was the same (22%), while the proportion of girls considering themselves overweight raised up to 42%. The majority of the girls (53%) is trying to slim making use of physical activity (48%), diets (32%), vomiting (8%) and drugs (5%).
Conclusions. Our data suggest that specific projects focusing on primary and secondary prevention of eating disorders should be considered for high schools. In addition, further studies are suggested to understand characteristics and behaviours related to eating disorders.

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