The Relationship of Eating Disorders Risk with Body Mass Index, Body Image and Self-Esteem among Medical Students

Author(s): Bhushan Chaudhari*, Abhinav Tewari, Jyotsna Vanka, Saurav Kumar and Daniel Saldanha

Background: Eating disorders are rapidly increasing in young population. College students, particularly medical students have shown vulnerability for developing eating disorders. Different sociodemographic factors, BMI, body image and self-esteem have complex interaction with eating disorders risk. However, there has been very little research exploring these relationships in Indian population. Aim: To evaluate relationship of sociodemographic factors, BMI, body image and self-esteem with eating disorders risk. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 193 medical students with the help of semi structured proforma consisting of sociodemographic information, self-reported height and weight to calculate BMI, Body Shape Questionnaire 16-item Short Form (BSQ-16) to assess perceived body image, Rosenberg Selfesteem Scale (RSES) to assess self-esteem and Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) to assess eating disorder risk. Results: We found male students to be at slightly more risk than female students for developing eating disorders. Male students also had significantly higher BMI and more body image dissatisfaction than female students. Eating disorders risk was significantly associated with elevated BMI and body image dissatisfaction. However, there was no significant correlation between eating disorders risk and self-esteem. Conclusion: The present study brings out the vulnerability of male students for developing eating disorders and highlighted elevated BMI and body image dissatisfaction as potential risk factors associated with eating disorders risk. The present study gives insight into early identification and prevention or early treatment of eating pathologies in these students.


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