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A preliminary survey on eating behaviors and body image

among adolescents of Friuli Venezia-Giulia (Italy)

by Emanuel Mian

Wrong eating behaviors and body dissatisfaction often appear during

adolescence and can be prodromic of an Eating Disorder (ED). The “Body
Image 2007” (BI07) preliminary survey, originates from the growing need to
aquire informations about eating behaviors, ED knowledge and body image of
Friuli Venezia-Giulia's (North-East of Italy) teenagers.The survey included ED
knowledge, body image, eating habits, alcohol abuse, cultural pressure for
thinness, physical appearance and self-esteem.
Ninety students (male n=50 ; female n=40 ; mean age 15 +/- 1) attending a
secondary school in Trieste were assigned to the BI07 survey.They were also
subministered the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT12), the Inventory for Screening of
Eating Disorders (ISED) and the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI2) to evaluate
risk factors for an ED.

Results indicate that binge episodes were frequent between male sample
instead than in female one ((F = 6,716 ; p < 0.01) and was correlated (r = .51 ;
p < 0.01) with EAT12 Bulimia subscale. Self-esteem was higher in males (F =
28,226 p < 0,0001) that were rarely on a self-managed diet than female
students ((F = 57,973 ; p < 0.0001).This result was correlated (r = .76 ; p <
0,0001) with Drive for Thinness EAT12 subscale. Female students rated their
physical appearance significantly higher (F = 8,875 p < 0.005) than males, and
this was correlated (r = .47 p < 0.01) with body dissatisfaction. The findings of
BI07 give encouraging results and will continue in a forthcoming study on
larger samples.

Paper presented at Alpbach (Austria) il 21st October 2007 Netzwerk


Austrian Society for Eating Disorders International Congress