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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 219-224

Eating attitudes and body shape concerns among medical students in Chandigarh

1 Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Clinical Psychology, National De-addiction and Treatment Centre, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Pratap Sharan
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.214605

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Background/Objectives: Eating disorders are rarely encountered in the Indian subcontinent. Surprisingly, there is sparse literature related to eating attitude distortions and body dissatisfaction in the Indian population. The objective of this study was to explore the eating attitudes and body shape concerns in medical students, with the objectives of determining any gender differences on eating attitudes and body shape concerns, and any predictors of psychological morbidity using demographic and psychosocial parameters. Materials and Methods: Sample comprised medical undergraduate students from all years (I-V) pursuing MBBS course at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. It was a prospective, cross-sectional study. Instruments used were socioclinical sheet, acculturation index (AI), eating attitudes test-26 (Hindi version), and body shape questionnaire (BSQ) (Hindi version). Following written informed consent, all the questionnaires were administered in a group setting to each MBBS batch. Statistical analysis was carried out with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 using descriptive analysis (frequency, percentage, mean), univariate analysis (Chi-square, t-test), Pearson's correlational analysis, and binary logistic regression (backward). Results: A total of 250 medical students from 5 batches with mean age of 20.15 +/- 1.32 (18-28) years. And 55% (n = 137) were males and 45% (n = 113) were females. On gender comparison, males were more likely to be Hindu and have higher body weight (actual and ideal); females had significantly higher scores on dieting subscale of eating attitudes test-26 and BSQ (total score). On AI, there were no gender differences on family domain variables, with significantly less females reporting pure Western preference for social/peer domain variables. Correlation and logistic regression analysis showed high score on BSQ (median divide) as the only statistically significant predictor of eating (disorder) morbidity, whereas high score on AI (median divide) approached significance (P = 0.062). Conclusion: High score on BSQ is the mediating (proximate) risk factor for eating (disorder) morbidity. Influence of other/distal risk factors (especially AI) may be mediated through it.

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