Eating Disorders: Study on distorted eating habits and negative body image                                among students between 12 and 15 years old
Dr. Elisaveta Pavlova, CEDS

Introduction

Eating Disorders are a psychological, medical and social disease with a growing spread affecting both sexes and all ages, more prominently spear among teenagers.[6] They are in disorders with the highest mortality rate varying between 10% and 20 %, as well as, eating disorders are the second most wildly spread chronic disorder among teenagers after depression.[2]

The way from normal to the distorted eating is very short passing through accepting the food and body, trough obsession with food and body, trough subclinical eating disorders to clinical eating disorders.[5] Obvious is the significant role for the development of eating disorders of the eating habits and the destroyed body image. This shoes their key role in the diagnosing in the first place, before its managing, treating and preventing. Hence, in order to verify the validity of the above towards the Bulgarian sample, there are “EAT-26 Eating Attitudes” and “Body Shape Questionnaire” used at my study.

Object of the study are students 12 to 15 years old from two 8th grade classes at the Trade Secondary schools which results are compared to teenagers participating at the Community Center and in Varna, participating in the performance arts, which are with higher tendency towards unhealthy attitudes for controlling their weight, as well as, with the highest risk of eating disorders upon the wildly spread international research and statistics.

Hypotheses:

1. The girls from the Community center are characterized by a higher degree of distorted eating habits compering to the boys at the Community center.

2. The girls from the Community center are characterized by a higher degree of negative body image compering to the boys at the Community center.

3. The girls from the Trade school are characterized by a higher degree of distorted eating habits compering to the boys at the Trade school.

4. The girls from the Trade school are characterized by a higher degree of negative body image compering to the boys at the Trade school.

5. The girls and boys from the Community center are characterized by a higher degree of negative body image compared to the girls and boys at the Community center.

6. The girls and boys from the Trade school are characterized by a higher degree of negative body image compared to the girls and boys at the Trade school.

Methodology:

For the purpose of the study are used two specific questioners with high practical usage in the international scientific and clinical work with eating disorders: “EAT-26 Eating Attitudes” and “Body Shape questionnaire”.

Analysis of the study based on the questionnaires:

“EAT-26 Eating Attitudes” questionnaire (EAT-26)
The questionnaire is anonymous, whose purpose is to understand:
 The eating attitudes and feelings: habits and behaviors in eating. The test “EAT-26 Eating Attitudes” is used as a diagnostic instrument consisting of 26 items and 5 possible answers to choose among: never, sometimes, rarely, sometimes, often, very often and always.[4]

“Body Shape questionnaire” (BSQ)
The questionnaire is anonymous, whose purpose is to understand:
 The feelings and attitudes towards body shape or the degree of approval/disapproval of body shape during the last four weeks. The BSQ is a single instrument for estimating the worries towards body shape typical for sufferers with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.[3]

Results from the questionnaires:

The sample consists of 80 students, from whom 49 or 57% females: 20 from the Trade school and 29 from the Community center and 31 males or 43%: 20 from the Trade school and 11 from the Community center. The age of the participants is 12 to 15 years old. The education of the participants is pre-secondary school, and more specifically students from 5th to 8th grades. One of the samples consists of two 8th grades students-40 children respectively from the Trade school in Varna, and the second sample consists of 2 types of participating in the performance arts teenagers-40 children respectively.

After the analyses of the 80th participating students, the results are as following:

Results and discussion over the “EAT-26 Eating Attitudes” questionnaire

For EAT-26 questionnaire in the Community center with a result over 20 are estimated 12 participants from 40.
For EAT-26 questionnaire in the Trade school with a result over 20 are estimated 4 participants from 40.

Results and discussion over the “Body Shape” questionnaire

For “Body Shape” questionnaire at the Community center with results of 80 and over are estimated 18 participants from 40.

For “Body Shape” questionnaire at the Trade school with results with over 80 and over are estimated 12 participants from 40.

Additional Results:

For EAT-26 questionnaire: in the Community center the girls and boys-together are with higher results comparing to the results of the Trade School.

For “Body Shape” questionnaire: in the Community center the girls and boys-together are with higher results comparing to the results of the Trade School.

Analysis of the results

On the first hypothesis, for EAT-26 in the Community center with result over 20 are estimated 12 participants, from 40 or 30% from the participants at the Community center or 1 of 3 students are with seriously distorted eating attitudes and with a higher risk of developing of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, from whom 9 girls or 75% and 3 boys or 25% of the students are in need of early diagnosing for eating disorders.

On the second hypothesis, for EAT-26 in the Trade school with a result over 20 are estimated 4 participants from 40 or 10% from the students. The results mean that 1 of any 10 teens at the Trade school are with seriously distorted eating attitudes and with a higher risk of developing of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa, from whom 3 girls or 75% and 1 boy or 25% from the participating students.

On the third hypothesis, for “Body Shape” questionnaire at the Community center with results of 80 and over are estimated in 18 participants from 40 or 45% from the students at the Community center, from whom 15 girls or 83% and 3 boys or 17% from the students. The results mean that any 2nd student is affected by negative attitudes, unapproved and not positive feelings towards its body shape, which is one of the primer symptoms of eating disorders.

On the four hypotheses, for “Body Shape” questionnaire at the Trade school with results with over 80 and over are estimated in 12 participants from 40 or 30% from the students at the Community center, from whom 8 girls or 67% and 4 boys or 33% from the teenagers. The results mean that any 3rd student is affected by negative attitudes, unapproved and not positive feelings towards its body shape, which is one of the primer symptoms of eating disorders.

On the fifth hypothesis, for EAT-26 in the Community center consisting of 40 girls and boys are with higher results comparing to the results of the Trade School –another 40 students, which in % looks like 30% from the Community center to 10% from the Trade school. The results mean that in the Community center, one of any three students show distorted eating habits, comparing to one of any ten students with distorted eating habits in the Trade school.

On the sixth hypothesis, for “Body Shape” questionnaire at the Community center consisting of 40 girls and boys are with higher results comparing to the results of the Trade School –another 40 students, which in % looks like 45% from the Community center to 30% from the Trade school. The results mean that in the Community center, one of any two students shows distorted body image, comparing to one of any three students with distorted body image in the Trade school.

Conclusions

After a detailed analysis of the study, the following conclusions could be made, based on the six proven hypotheses of this study, as follows:

The girls and the participating in the performance arts: dancing-singing type, which is characterized with public performance as all international scientific and clinical studies show, have been validated for the Bulgarian sample as well-showing higher percentage danger of developing of sub-clinical eating disorders, from which higher % turns to full body eating disorders based on the stated hypothesis above. Or more specifically, the girls, as well as, those involved in the performance arts show a higher degree of unhealthy eating habits and respectively potential eating disorders. In addition, the girls and those participating in the performance arts show higher degree of distorted body image, which consequences are distorted eating and the use of unhealthy compensatory mechanisms for purging such as the use of binges and purges, compulsive exercising, and the use of laxatives, diuretics, enemas and etc. with very dangerous psychological and physiological consequences over the affected by ED body and psyche. [7]

Stated in other words, females as sex and the participating in the performance arts teenagers: dancing-singing type are the two prominent high-risk groups and with the shown higher prevalence of distorted: eating habits and body image; hence characterized with a higher prevalence of eating disorders.

In the form of recommendations, considering the very threatening figures resaved in the study and based on the non-statistical sources, which show the spread of ED among more than 300 000 Bulgarian people, of high significance for the Bulgarian community, is the focus on prevention programs for eating disorders development. In this relationship, the prime attention should be taken towards the groups of girls and those participating in the performance arts among teenagers with an age range from 12 to 19 years old. The reason is that within this age segment generally are presented the first symptoms of the development of eating disorders. Thus, the prevention requires the necessary those early developing ED be on the first place discovered and diagnosed, which correlates with a higher success rate of treatment of ED, as well as, with a lower percentage of becoming chronic ED, furthermore with more effective coping with relapses during and after its treatment.[1]
Bibliography:

1. APA (American Psychiatry Association), Practical Guidelines for treatment of patients with ED, 3 edition Washington, June 2006, pg.128/765

2. Clinical Guideline 9, Core interventions of treatment of anorexia, bulimia and related disorders, National Institute of Clinical Excellence, London, January 2004

3. Cooper, PJ, MJ Taylor, Z. Cooper & CG Fairburn (1986). Development of “Body Shape Questioner”. International Journal of Eating Disorders 6: 485-494.

4. Garner, D.M et Garkinkel, P.E,.,1979, Garn er, D.M.,Olmsted, , Bohr, Y. et Garkinkel, P.E., EAT-26, 1982)

5. Halton, C. PHD, et all, Parent Partner Program, International journal of Eating Disorders. 2006, 39:3, 175-183

6. Popenoe, I., Orlin Health center, Michigan National University, 20011

7. Uphoff, M.MD, Desilva, O.MD, North East Pediatric, 2012

Author Bio:

Dr. Elisaveta Pavlova holds a PhD in medical psychology, counseling psychologist, trainer and lecturer with more than 10 years’ experience in the eating disorders (ED) and mental field. She obtained her CEDS designation from iaedp™ in 2016, and become the first eating disorders certified specialist in Bulgaria. She is the Founder and President of First Bulgarian Organization for Eating Disorders -Association UNIKAL since 2011, and for UNIKAL Online Institute, since October 2018. Dr. Elisaveta Pavlova, CEDS, is the first in her country certified as a professional Intuitive Eating Counselor at the International organization of IE-professionals. Since November 2016, she has served as the iaedp™ International Chapter Chair of Bulgaria. In addition, Dr. Elisaveta Pavlova works as a lecturer for educational specialists and as a coordinating trainer for self-created courses for Bulgarian students and specialists in the ED field. Dr. Pavlova was the pioneer for the Educational Designation Associate iaedp™, translated into Bulgarian language, as well as, a professional partner for WHO (World Health Organization) Global Clinical Practice Network.

To learn more visit website: https://unikalonlineinstitute.com/

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