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Assessing eating disorder and weight preoccupation risk in female students

Obsession with weight has been identified as a significant problem in modern society, particularly among young women. Similarly, the phenomena of weight and shape preoccupation have been recognised as preliminary behaviours to the development of eating disorders. This study aimed to identify the current incidence of, and factors associated with, weight preoccupation, shape preoccupation, and eating disorder risk in female US university students aged 18 to 23 years. An online study was used and the findings demonstrated that 31% of respondents identified themselves as weight-preoccupied and 33% as shape-preoccupied. Overall, the study found that asking students whether they are weight-preoccupied could be an initial step in early intervention for those at risk of developing an eating disorder.

Samantha A Ramsay, Assistant Professor of Foods and Nutrition and Director of the Coordinated Programme
Laurel J Branen, Professor of Emeritus
Miranda L Snook, Research Assistant, School of Family and Consumer Sciences
All at University of Idaho, Moscow, USA