Journal of Food and Nutritional DisordersISSN: 2324-9323

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The Prevalence and Determents of Eating disorders among Emirati Female Students Aged 14–19 Years in Ajman, UAE

The Prevalence and Determents of Eating disorders among Emirati Female Students Aged 14–19 Years in Ajman, UAE

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) and its determinants among Emirati female students: ages 14 to 19, Ajman. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 4 public female high schools in Ajman, with a stratified random sampling of 315 Emirati students. The participants were selected from 3 strata: grade 10, 11, and 12. From each, two classes were selected randomly. Moreover, 30% of the participants at risk of Eating disorders were invited to an individual interview to explore their unique determinants of Eating Disorders. Outcome measures of this study were Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26) Score, Body Mass Index (BMI), Perceived Body Image and Desired Body Image. Additionally, a figure of body image scale correlated to BMI was adapted from Bays et al. [1]. Results: Results were demonstrated into six tables. Average age was 16 ± 1.1 years, where 17.5% of participants were underweight, 48.6% normal weight, 17.8% overweight and 16.2% obese. Furthermore 36.2% were at risk of Eating Disorders. Sub-analysis showed that 20.3% were at risk of Binge Eating Disorder, 4.8% Bulimia, and 5.4% Anorexia. There was a significant discrepancy between their actual and perceived body image. 49.1% of the underweight participants and 80.4% of the overweight perceived their body image as normal. Individual interviews analysis showed the dominant determinants of Eating disorders to be dieting in the family, media’s effect, and peer pressure. Conclusion: The study highlights the severity of the problem in Ajman, UAE. The results can be used to plan health awareness campaigns to prevent Eating disorders among the Emirati youth.

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