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Eating disorders in medical students of Karachi, Pakistan-a cross-sectional study

Akhtar Amin Memon1*, Syeda Ezz-e-Rukhshan Adil1, Efaza Umar Siddiqui1, Syed Saad Naeem1, Syed Adnan Ali2 and Khalid Mehmood3

Author Affiliations

1 Medical student, Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Lecturer Biostatistics, Department of Research, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan

3 Department of Medicine, Civil Hospital, 1704/3, Federal B Area, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:84  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-84

Published: 1 February 2012

Abstract

Background

To assess the incidence of high-risk population of medical students with eating disorders in Karachi by using validated self-administered questionnaires. The earlier these disorders are diagnosed and assessed, the better the chances are for enhanced treatment and fuller recovery. Therefore, we intended to undertake a study to find out the frequency of such disorders among medical students of Karachi and design strategies to overcome them.

Findings

A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted in 435 medical students of Karachi. Data was collected using 2 self administered questionnaires, the SCOFF Eating Disorders Questionnaire and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Subjects' body mass indexes (BMI) were also calculated. The data was sorted and analyzed in SPSS version 16. According to EAT-26, 22.75% individuals were found to be at high-risk of eating disorders, with 87.9% females and 12.1% males. However, according to SCOFF questionnaire, 17% individuals were found to be at high-risk, with 78.4% females and 21.6% males. According to BMI calculation, 9% were severely underweight, 41.4% underweight, 41.1% normal, 7.6% overweight and 0.9% belonged to obese class 1.

Conclusions

A significant fraction of medical students in Karachi are at high risk of development of eating disorders, females being more prone than males. Strategies should be designed to prevent occurrence of such disorders among medical students that would undoubtedly hamper the availability of dependable medical services in future.

Keywords:
Eating Disorders; EAT-26; SCOFF; Karachi