Screening High School Students for Eating Disorders: Results of a National Initiative
Ziyadeh, Najat J.
Prokop, Lisa A.
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CitationAustin, S. Bryn, Najat J. Ziyadeh, Sara Forman, Lisa A. Prokop, Anne Keliher, and Douglas Jacobs. 2008. Screening High School Students for Eating Disorders: Results of a National Initiative. Preventing Chronic Disease 5(4).
AbstractIntroduction: Early identification and treatment of disordered eating and weight control behaviors may prevent progression and reduce the risk of chronic health consequences. Methods: The National Eating Disorders Screening Program coordinated the first-ever nationwide eating disorders screening initiative for high schools in the United States in 2000. Students completed a self-report screening questionnaire that included the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and items on vomiting or exercising to control weight, binge eating, and history of treatment for eating disorders. Multivariate regression analyses examined sex and racial/ethnic differences. Results: Almost 15% of girls and 4% of boys scored at or above the threshold of 20 on the EAT-26, which indicated a possible eating disorder. Among girls, we observed few significant differences between ethnic groups in eating disorder symptoms, whereas among boys, more African American, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino boys reported symptoms than did white boys. Overall, 25% of girls and 11% of boys reported disordered eating and weight control symptoms severe enough to warrant clinical evaluation. Of these symptomatic students, few reported that they had ever received treatment. Conclusion: Population screening for eating disorders in high schools may identify at-risk students who would benefit from early intervention, which could prevent acute and long-term complications of disordered eating and weight control behaviors.
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