Patterns and prevalence of disordered eating and weight control behaviors in women ages 25-45
L. Reba-Harrelson1,2, A. Von Holle1, R.M. Hamer1,3, R. Swann4, M.L. Reyes1, and C.M. Bulik1,5
1Department of Psychiatry, 2Department of Psychology, 3Department of Biostatistics, 4Department of Maternal and Child Health, 5Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
OBJECTIVE: The current study describes detailed eating behaviors, dieting behaviors, and attitudes about shape and weight in 4023 women ages 25 to 45.
METHOD: The survey was delivered on-line and participants were identified using a national quota-sampling procedure.
RESULTS: Disordered eating behaviors, extreme weight loss measures, and negative cognitions about shape and weight were widely endorsed by women in this age group and were not limited to White participants. Thirty-one percent of women without a history of anorexia nervosa or binge eating reported having purged to control weight, and 74.5% of women reported that their concerns about shape and weight interfered with their happiness.
DISCUSSION: Unhealthy approaches to weight control and negative attitudes about shape and weight are pervasive even among women without eating disorders. The development of effective approaches to address the impact of these unhealthy behaviors and attitudes on the general well-being and functioning of women is required.
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