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Eat Behav. 2006 Jan;7(1):53-60. Epub 2005 Aug 1.

Disordered eating attitudes and symptomatology among adolescent girls in the United Arab Emirates.

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Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain.



To ascertain the prevalence and correlates of disordered eating attitudes and symptomatology in a school-based Arab population.


A representative stratified random sample of 495 adolescent girls completed the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-40) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A randomly selected subgroup from the those who scored above the recommended cut-off of 30 on the EAT-40 and an equal number of those who scored below 30 were interviewed in stage 2 by a psychiatrist, blind to the EAT scores, using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KSADS) and DSM-IV criteria for the presence of eating disorders.


116 girls (23.4%) scored above the recommended cut-off on EAT. High EAT score was associated with age, BMI, internalization of thin ideal and drive for thinness, knowing someone on a weight loss strategy, having a family member with weight-related or mental health problem and watching western TV programs. Using clinical interview of 100 girls in stage 2, half of those who scored above the cut-off on EAT were found to have a propensity for anorexic behavior, while 2% met the criteria for the full clinical syndrome.


Thin body preoccupation as well as family and social factors are important in the development of abnormal eating attitudes among adolescents in this Arabian Gulf country.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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