Eating Disorders: Best Age for Education and Prevention




Chasmawala, Jayshri R.


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Chasmawala, Jayshri R., Eating Disorders: Best Age for Prevention and Education. Master of Public Health (Dual Degree D.O./M.P.H.), May 2004, 22 pp., 11 tables, 6 illustrations, references, 16 titles. Objective: This study attempts to determine the best age to design a prevention program to prevent the development of eating disorders based on adolescents’ behavior and attitudes towards eating disorders. Methods: Forty students aged 11-17 answered a self-reported questionnaire regarding dieting and weight, identification of emotional states, and general awareness of eating disorders. Age group divided the sample: 13 years of age and younger; and 14 years of age and older. Multivariate analyses were performed to determine existence of any differences between the populations. Results: An overall difference in the age groups exists with statistic significance. The difference in mean values of interoceptive awareness is statistically significant between the age groups. Conclusion: Interoceptive Awareness, not awareness level of eating disorders, is more indicative of the best age for prevention. Younger age children may benefit more from prevention due to lack of emotional maturity which leads to higher risk of development of eating disorders.