Eating-Disordered Behavior in Adolescents: Associations with Body Image, Body Composition and Physical Activity
Department of Public Health, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, Comenius University in Bratislava, 036 01 Martin, Slovakia
Department of Sports Educology and Humanistics, Faculty of Sports, University of Presov, 080 01 Presov, Slovakia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6665; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186665
Received: 5 August 2020 / Revised: 2 September 2020 / Accepted: 10 September 2020 / Published: 13 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk and Maintenance of Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents)
Eating disorders (EDs) represent a disparate group of mental health problems that significantly impair physical health or psychosocial functioning. The aim of this study was to present some evidence about the prevalence of eating-disordered behavior (EDB) in adolescents, and explore its associations with body image (BI), body composition (BC) and physical activity (PA) in this age group. Data from 780 adolescents participating in a health behavior in school-aged children (HBSC) study conducted in Slovakia in 2018 were used (mean age 13.5 ± 1.3; 56% boys). Differences in mean values of numerical indicators were evaluated using the independent samples t-test. Differences between nominal variables were assessed by the chi-square test. Pearson correlation was used to describe the associations between all the selected variables. EDB was positively screened in 26.7% (208/780) of adolescents, with a higher prevalence in girls (128/344, 37.2%) than in boys (80/436, 18.3%). Significantly higher means of BI, body weight (BW), body mass index (BMI), body fat mass (BFM), body fat percentage (BFP), body fat mass index (BFMI), fat free mass index (FFMI), and SCOFF questionnaire score (SCOFF QS) were found in those positively screened for EDB. Pearson correlation analysis revealed positive associations between EDB and BI, BW, BMI, BFM, BFP and BFMI. The prevalence of EDB is high in Slovak adolescents. Positive associations between EDB, BI, BMI and fat-related body composition parameters support the idea of a more integrated approach in EDs and obesity prevention and treatment. At the same time, gender differences suggest the need for considering gender-specific strategies aimed at girls and boys separately.