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Open AccessArticle

Exercise Caution: Questions to Ask Adolescents Who May Exercise Too Hard

Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet & Stockholm Health Care Services, Stockholm County Council, Norra Stationsgatan 69, 7 tr 113 64 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 797;
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eating and Exercise in Children and Adolescents)
When the primary goal of exercise is to compensate for food intake and to alter body shape and weight, it is considered compulsive and may be harmful. Compulsive exercise (CE) is important in the pathogenesis of eating disorders (EDs). Many healthy adolescents engage in CE too, and this may indicate a risk for EDs. Our aim was to learn more about ED risk factors tied to CE and to try to isolate questions to ask in order to probe for high ED risk in adolescents engaging in CE. Using two well-established instruments (the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior and the Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire), we studied associations between ED variables and CE in healthy adolescent boys and girls. We examined gender-specific items to generate the best possible fit for each gender. Individuals with CE displayed significantly greater ED pathology and more self-criticism, and this pattern was stronger in girls than in boys. Risk factors for ED among individuals with CE differed slightly for boys and girls. We put forward a set of gender-specific questions that may be helpful when probing for ED risk among adolescents engaging in CE. View Full-Text
Keywords: compulsive exercise; healthy adolescents; eating disorder risk compulsive exercise; healthy adolescents; eating disorder risk
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Forsén Mantilla, E.; Levallius, J.; Monell, E.; Birgegård, A. Exercise Caution: Questions to Ask Adolescents Who May Exercise Too Hard. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 797.

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