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Eating behaviour and eating disorders in students of nutrition sciences

  • Anne Korinth (a1), Sonja Schiess (a1) and Joachim Westenhoefer (a1)
Abstract
Objective

Sometimes the suspicion is put forward that nutrition students show more disordered eating patterns, which may be among the motivating factors to study nutrition. At the same time, it is not clear whether the students’ increasing knowledge about diet and nutrition is associated with a more healthy eating behaviour or with an unhealthy obsession with food choices.

Design

Cross-sectional comparison of nutrition students from German universities during the first year of their studies (n 123) and during higher semesters (n 96), with a control group from other study programmes (n 68 and n 46, respectively). Dietary restraint, disinhibition, the tendency towards orthorexia nervosa and healthy food choices were assessed using a questionnaire.

Results

Nutrition students showed higher levels of dietary restraint than the control group. Disinhibition and orthorexia nervosa did not differ between nutrition students and controls. Orthorexic tendencies were lower in the more advanced nutrition students. Healthy food choices did not differ among students in the first year. More advanced nutrition students showed healthier food choices, whereas the corresponding controls showed slightly more unhealthy food choices.

Conclusions

Nutrition students, more than other students, tend to restrict their food intake in order to control their weight, but they do not have more disturbed or disordered eating patterns than other students. Moreover, during the course of their studies, they adopt slightly more healthy food choices and decrease their tendency to be obsessive in their eating behaviour.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email joachim@westenhoefer.de
References
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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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