Poster Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 777
Describe the characteristics of the children and adolescent population of Costa Rica with and without risk behaviors associated with eating disorders.
A total of 2667 students from 40 schools and 24 high schools in the seven provinces of Costa Rica participated in this transversal descriptive study with quantitative approach. Weight and height were used to assess nutritional status with Body Mass Index (kg/m2). Socioeconomic status of the students was determined according to Madrigal methodology (1). Participants were asked to rate their ideal figure and their perceived figure with the Contour Drawing Rating Scale (2). The discrepancy between the ideal and current size scores was used as an index of body size dissatisfaction. The questions to assess behaviors that are characteristic of individuals with eating disorders were taken from the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) and others suggested by experts (3). The risk of presenting eating disorders was established with the index: < 10 without risk and ≥ 10 with risk. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (SPSS for Windows, version 20.0) to estimate frequencies and chi-square (X2) tests. A p < 0.05 was considered significant.
Students with risk behaviors for eating disorders are characterized by having a medium or high socioeconomic index (72.6% vs 70.2%; p< 0.05) and overweight or obesity (31.4% vs 15.0%; p < 0.001). Girls presented a higher prevalence of risk behaviors associated with eating disorders compared to the boys (55.0% vs 45.0%, p = 0.003). Near 45% of boys were satisfied with their body image while only a third of the girls were satisfied with it. Girls want to be thinner and boys want to be more corpulent (Figure 1). Table 1 shows highlighted in color those risk behaviors for eating disorders that better discriminate between populations with and without risk.
There is an upward trend in eating disorders in the student population of Costa Rica. Risk behaviors were detected in youth that could enhance the development of eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia). Prevention programs must be implemented in schools to promote healthy lifestyles. The family continuous indication to make diet and weight loss for the only purpose of achieving a pretty figure at the expense of health must be discouraged.
This work was supported by the Office of Vice-president for Research of the University of Costa Rica (UCR) (Project 430-B1-343), the Distance State University (UNED) (Project PROYO 102-2010) and Institute for Research and Education on Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA) (IC-2010-05).
Microbiologist and Researcher
University of Costa Rica
San Jose, San Jose, Costa Rica