School health class associated with reduced odds of eating disorder symptoms in American adolescents

Citation

Kremer, Michael J.; Kremer, Kristen P.; & Kremer, Theodore R. (2019). School health class associated with reduced odds of eating disorder symptoms in American adolescents. International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Abstract

Objective-Eating disorder symptoms, including eating disorder diagnosis, binge eating, and unhealthy weight loss, are associated with health risks, and adolescence may be an optimal time to provide education on healthy alternatives. This research explored whether in-school health information during adolescence is associated with eating disorder symptoms in young adulthood. Method-Data were used from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a nationally representative study of American youth, including information from Wave I, when participants were in Grades 7–12, and from Wave III, when participants were aged 18–26. Logistic regression analyses predicted eating disorder symptoms from in-school health information, adjusting for demographic and educational covariates. In-school health information and eating disorder symptoms were based on participant self-report. Results-In-school health information about both diet (the foods you should and should not eat) and the importance of exercise compared to no health information reduced the odds of youth-reported eating disorder history odds ratio ((OR) = 0.23, 95% CI = 0.11–0.48). Individuals who received information on exercise alone compared to no health information were also less likely to use weight pills to control weight (OR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.11–0.61). There was no difference in binge-eating symptoms based on school health class. Discussion-Findings from this exploratory research study indicate that in-school receipt of information on diet and exercise has modest associations with eating disorder symptoms, including lower odds of a self-reported eating disorder and lower odds of using weight loss pills. Further research is needed to definitely test the role of school health class on eating disorder symptoms.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1002/eat.23194

Keyword(s)

binge-eating disorder

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

International Journal of Eating Disorders

Author(s)

Kremer, Michael J.
Kremer, Kristen P.
Kremer, Theodore R.

Year Published

2019

DOI

10.1002/eat.23194

Reference ID

6076