Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Objective: To study the anorexic behaviour and attitude among female medical and nursing students in a tertiary care hospital.SUBJECTS AND Methods: A cross-sectional survey to determine the proportion of anorexic behaviour among female medical and nursing students at The Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi was conducted. A multistaged sampling technique was utilized in which our study population was first divided according to field of enrollment (medical or nursing school) and then stratified by class. Within each stratum, we used convenience sampling due to time and availability constraints. We utilized a modified Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) to collect data. The Eating Attitude Test is probably the most widely used standardized measure of symptoms characteristic of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa.Results: A total of 180 female students were interviewed. Ninety-four (52.2%) were medical students and 86 (47.8%) were nursing students. Among the 94 medical students, 26 (27.7%) were from first year, 14 (14.9%) from second year, 15 (16.0%) from third year, 20 (21.3%) from fourth year and 19 (20.2%) from the final year of medical college. Among the 86 nursing students 34 (39.5%) were from first year, 23 (26.7%) from second year, 27 (31.4%) from third year and 2 (2.4%) from fourth year. The proportion of anorexic behaviour among medical students was 8.0%, 7.1% and 20.0% in first, third and fourth years respectively. No individuals with anorexic behaviour were found in second and fifth years. The total proportion of anorexic behaviour among female health care students was 21.7%.CONCLUSION: Results showed a 21.7% prevalence of anorexic behaviour, a figure much higher than that reported in similar studies conducted in Asia. We also found that the proportion was much higher among female nursing students as compared to female medical students. A previous visit to a psychiatrist for reasons other than eating disorders was found to be associated with anorexic behaviour.

Publication

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association

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