Abnormal eating attitudes in secondary-school girls in South Africa--a preliminary study

C P Szabo, C Hollands
To document the existence of eating attitudes that may reflect current, pre- or subclinical eating disorders. To establish preliminary prevalence figures for abnormal eating attitudes. Cross-sectional survey of eating attitudes. Non-clinical, community-based. Female high-school pupils. Total score derived from a self-report questionnaire, Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), which measures eating attitudes. Factor profile describing dimensions of eating-related psychopathology, derived from the
more » ... rived from the clustering of questions on the EAT-26. An overall prevalence figure of abnormal eating attitudes of 21.66% was documented. Black pupils had a higher prevalence than white pupils (37.5% v. 20.67%). The factor profile of respondents with abnormal eating attitudes did not differ between the race groups, although within the total sample, black respondents had a significantly stronger drive toward thinness. A significant developmental continuum was established, with prevalence figures for abnormal eating attitudes increasing with each standard from Standard 7 onward. The study provides preliminary epidemiological data on the prevalence of adolescent girls either suffering from or at risk of the development of an eating disorder. In addition, the study also provides evidence of the need for intervention strategies that commence in the pre-teen years.
pmid:9180825 fatcat:3ttlmrcvzzc4thx3uzb6vyndem