Consumption of dietary substances and their association with risk of eating disorders in college students

ABSTRACT Objective to evaluate the consumption of weight loss formulations and their possible association with risk of eating disorders (ED) in university students of health courses of different socioeconomic levels. Methods A cross-sectional epidemiological study was carried out with 276 university students enrolled in four health courses. To obtain the data, three self-applied instruments were used: the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), the Bulimic Investigatory Test of Edinburgh (BITE) and to investigate the consumption of weight-loss formulations a questionnaire prepared by the research team was used. For the data analysis, the chi-square test was applied, adopting the level of significance of 5%. Results Twenty-one university students presented a risk of ED by the EAT-26 scale, corresponding to 7.6% of the respondents. The frequency of use of weight loss formulations was 7.2%. There was a significant association (p < 0.001) between the use of weight loss formulations and the presence of risk for ED (33.3%), with a very high percentage when compared to the percentage of non-ED respondents who were using medication (5.1%). Conclusions The consumption of dietary formulations was associated with both the presence of risk for ED, on the EAT-26 and BITE scales, and on socioeconomic levels, especially for income class C.