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Public Health Nutr. 2010 Jan;13(1):32-7. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009005709. Epub 2009 May 12.

Eating behaviour and eating disorders in students of nutrition sciences.

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1
Public Health Research Group, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Applied Sciences Hamburg, Lohbruegger Kirchstr. 65, 21033 Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Sometimes the suspicion is put forward that nutrition students show more disordered eating patterns, which may be among the motivating factors to study nutrition. At the same time, it is not clear whether the students' increasing knowledge about diet and nutrition is associated with a more healthy eating behaviour or with an unhealthy obsession with food choices.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional comparison of nutrition students from German universities during the first year of their studies (n 123) and during higher semesters (n 96), with a control group from other study programmes (n 68 and n 46, respectively). Dietary restraint, disinhibition, the tendency towards orthorexia nervosa and healthy food choices were assessed using a questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Nutrition students showed higher levels of dietary restraint than the control group. Disinhibition and orthorexia nervosa did not differ between nutrition students and controls. Orthorexic tendencies were lower in the more advanced nutrition students. Healthy food choices did not differ among students in the first year. More advanced nutrition students showed healthier food choices, whereas the corresponding controls showed slightly more unhealthy food choices.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nutrition students, more than other students, tend to restrict their food intake in order to control their weight, but they do not have more disturbed or disordered eating patterns than other students. Moreover, during the course of their studies, they adopt slightly more healthy food choices and decrease their tendency to be obsessive in their eating behaviour.

PMID:
19433007
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980009005709
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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