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Int Q Community Health Educ. 1988 Jan 1;9(1):51-61. doi: 10.2190/Y5TJ-N0K4-93NA-T6JG.

Eating attitudes, dieting, and bulimia among junior high school students.

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1
Division of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Abstract

Students in a western New England (U.S.) junior high school (ages 11-15) were surveyed in 1986 to identify attitudes and behaviors about eating and dieting which might foster disordered eating habits. Although few students met official criteria for disordered eating habits, at least 12 percent did practice dieting and 28 percent were frequently preoccupied with the desire to be thinner and/or were terrified of being overweight. One-quarter of girls (vs. only 3.2% of boys) mistakenly classified themselves overweight. Perception of one's own weight seems to be more highly correlated with measures of eating attitude and behavior than does actual weight. Differences also were found in how males and females viewed their own weight although both dieted to about the same extent. Females also were more interested in having school classes on eating and dieting. Recommendations were made for prevention and education regarding eating disorders among this age group.

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