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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2004 February;56(1):83-90

language: Italian

Risk assessment for eating disorders in a high school: a study based on the Eating Attitudes Test 26

Saporetti G., Sancini S., Bassoli L., Castelli B., Pellai A.


Aim. Disordered eating behaviours can lead to clinically evident and serious eating disorders (ED). Aim of this paper is to determine their extent among adolescents and to evaluate the associated characteristics.
Methods. All students of a high school (age 14-18) have been asked to fill up the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) anonymously. EAT-26 is a self-reported questionnaire identifying subjects at risk for ED. This questionnaire included also an integrative section, aimed at investigating some ED-related variables (family composition, diet among relatives, social relationships, spare time activities, self-esteem). Collected data have been analyzed using EpiInfo6.
Results. The study involved all the 902 students of the school; 833 questionnaires have been distributed and 701 were collected (89.4% from girls, 10.3% from boys). The percentage of EAT-26 positive boys (i.e. scoring „20) is 3%, while for girls is 13.7%. A positive test significantly correlates with low self-esteem (OR=46.67, CI=13.16-182.04), contentious relationships with the mother (OR=2.20, CI=1.12-4.29) and the father (OR=2.45, CI=1.24-4.80). No significant correlation has been found for being an only child, living in a single-parent family having limited/not having social relationships, having unsatisfactory social relationships, spending spare time mostly alone, watching TV more than 2 h per day.
Conclusion. Our data suggest an increasing diffusion in the risk for ED among adolescents. Personal characteristics and behaviours related to this risk are good start points to program projects focusing on primary and secondary prevention of ED in high schools.

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