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Self-image disorders and susceptibility for the development of eating disorders in medicine academics: a cross-sectional observational study

Ana Beatriz Travaini, Gabriela Anjona Gregorini, Giulia Ramos Custódio, Iasmin Ribeiro Payno, João Felipe Pissolito, Lucca Vieira Cerretto, Vinícius Jimenes de Campos, Tainara Costa, Durval Ribas Filho

Abstract: Introduction: when talking about eating disorders (ED), reflects a lot on how it affects young people and, currently, it is known that the most varied types of ED are quite prevalent in the university environment, with medical students being part of this groups that are significantly exposed to the onset of ED. The development of these disorders is commonly associated with self-image disorders, while body dissatisfaction is precisely one of the diagnostic criteria for ED. Objective: identify the prevalence of body dissatisfaction among medical students and how it affects the susceptibility to the development of eating disorders, relating this information to the impact of the pandemic and the gender of the participants. Methods: a cross-sectional observational study, with a quality-quantitative data approach. The research was carried out with medical students of both sexes, over 18 years old, through the application of an online questionnaire, which allowed the sample to be characterized in terms of sociodemographic and anthropometric aspects. In addition, the occurrence of self-image disorders was evaluated through the Kakeshita Silhouette Scale and the risk of developing ED through the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT 26). For statistical analysis, differences in EAT scores between categories were assessed using the Independent T-Test and the proportion of participants with self-image disorder was compared using Fisher's exact test. Results: 268 participants were included in the research, with a mean age of 21.23 years (standard deviation = 2.47), with 216 female participants (80.6%) and 52 male participants (19.4%). The body mass and height were self-reported by the students to calculate the body mass index (BMI), whose mean value was 23.57 (standard deviation = 4.79), showing that 27.6% of the participants are above the weight or obesity (BMI > 25) and 4.85% with low weight (BMI < 18.5). The present study showed a positive correlation between self-image disorders and eating disorders (p = 0.0002), regardless of the individual's gender. For the variables evaluated, there was no significant difference between genders (p = 0). Furthermore, the current COVID-19 pandemic is not an influential factor in the increase in self-image disorders among participants. Conclusion: through the study, it became evident that students who have self-image disorders have a higher risk of developing eating disorders. In addition, a significant part of the participants is dissatisfied with their bodies, regardless of gender or the impacts brought about by the pandemic.
Keywords: students / image disorders / BMI / eating disorders / sectional observational study / risk of developing / cross sectional observational

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