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Ho TF, Tai BC, Lee EL, Cheng S, Liow PH
Correspondence: Dr Ho Ting Fei, email@example.com
Introduction The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of young females at risk of developing eating disorders (ED) and the associated socio-demographical variables.
Methods A set of self-administered questionnaires consisting of an Eating Attitude Test (EAT), an Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) and a socio-demographical questionnaire was administered to 4,461 young females. Based on scores for EAT and/or EDI-drive for thinness (EDI-DT) subscale, subjects were categorised into either "normal" (NM) or "at risk" (AR) of ED.
Results Mean age of the subjects was 16.7 years (range 12-26 years). The ethnic composition was 78.8 percent Chinese, 11.7 percent Malay, 6.6 percent Indian and 3 percent other ethnic groups. Prevalence of AR was 7.4 percent (95 percent confidence interval [CI] 6.7-8.2 percent). Mean EAT and EDI-DT scores for AR were significantly higher than that of NM (EAT: mean difference is 22.1, 95 percent CI 20.7-23.4, p-value is less than 0.0001; EDI-DT: mean difference is 10.9, 95 percent CI 10.5-11.4, p-value is less than 0.0001). Female Malays constituted a significantly larger proportion of AR (20.6 percent) as compared to NM (10.9 percent). AR females are more likely to use Malay as a spoken language at home (prevalence rate ratio 1.70, p-value is 0.001) and to be better educated with completion of General Certificate of Education (GCE) "O" levels. However, the parents of AR females are likely to be less well educated (below GCE "A" levels).
Conclusion The prevalence of females at risk of developing ED is 7.4 percent. Malay ethnic group, using Malay language at home and the educational levels of both the subjects and their parents appear to be associated with an increased risk for development of ED.
Keywords: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, eating attitude test, eating disorders, socio-demographical variables
Singapore Med J 2006; 47(6): 499-503