Abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors among undergraduate college students the influence of low carbohydrate dieting trends /

by Smith, Amy L.

Abstract (Summary)
Julian H. Williford, Jr., Advisor, The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of abnormal feelings, attitudes and behaviors indicative of eating disorders among college students based on their self-reported EAT-26 questionnaire scores. Attitudes and behaviors regarding carbohydrates were also examined by utilizing item number 6 of the EAT-26 questionnaire. Age, gender, and class level were examined in relation to eating attitudes and behaviors, as were individual dietary intakes obtained through 5-day self-reported dietary records. A convenience sample of students was taken from an introductory food and nutrition course at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Students voluntarily completed EAT-26 questionnaires and students completed 5-day dietary records as a mandatory class assignment. The EAT-26 is a 26-item Liekert scale instrument, which measures the severity of eating disorder symptomatic responses. Cut-off scores of ? 20 were considered to reflect risk for an eating disorder. Findings from the current study showed that 16% of participants had EAT scores above the cut-off score, indicating abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors, and that 12% of students reported avoiding carbohydrate foods at least often. Data analysis revealed that females scored significantly higher on the EAT-26 than males and that females avoided carbohydrates significantly more than males. When participants were separated by age, class rank, and BMI, significant differences only existed between class rank, with freshman and underclassmen having significantly higher EAT-26 scores than upperclassmen. No differences were found regarding self-reported attitudes towards carbohydrates. iii EAT-26 scores and item number 6 of the EAT-26 scores were also compared to average 5- day nutrient intakes. Nutrients examined in this study included total calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, and zinc. Results revealed that EAT-26 scores were inversely related to consumption of total calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Item number 6 of the EAT-26 was inversely related to consumption of carbohydrate and riboflavin. There were no significant associations between other nutrients and abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors. The current study demonstrated that abnormal eating attitudes and behaviors occur in a substantial amount of college students, and that current low-carbohydrate dieting trends are influencing a number of college students as well. Preventative and educational interventions regarding healthy dietary habits may reflect more positive outcomes if directed towards female and freshman college students. Future research is needed to investigate the extent of negative attitudes towards carbohydrates, and to determine what specific food consumptions are related to having a negative attitude towards carbohydrates. iv This thesis is dedicated to my parents and family who have supported my efforts both emotionally and financially throughout my academic career. your motivation, prayers, and encouragement helped me to finally finish this and for that I cannot thank you enough! v
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:eating disorders low carbohydrate diet


Date of Publication:

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