Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Study of eating attitudes and behaviours in junior college students in Mumbai, India

Prajakta Tendulkar, Rajeev Krishnadas, Vijay Durge, Sumit Sharma, Sapna Nayak, Sanjeev Kamat, Hemangee Dhavale


Background: Eating disorders have been described as possible ‘culture-bound syndromes', with roots in Western cultural values and conflicts. They may, in fact, be more prevalent within various non-Western cultural groups than previously recognised, as Western values become more widely accepted. Cross-cultural experiences suggest that cultural change itself may be associated with increased vulnerability to eating disorders, especially when Western values about physical aesthetics are involved.

Objective: to assess the eating attitudes and behaviours among adolescents in the urban ethnic city, Mumbai, a survey was conducted amongst 451 college students.

Method: the study, based in four junior colleges, comprised 451 subjects who completed a semi-structured questionnaire, a 26-item Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) and the Personal Assessment Inventory (IPAT).

Results: the results revealed faulty eating habits in 13.3% of the subjects. A statistically significant proportion perceived themselves to have problems with eating, substance use, dieting and exercise practices, resorting to extreme measures to achieve weight loss. A high rate of faulty eating habits was observed in males. Higher scores on depression and suicidal ideation were reported in the population with faulty eating habits.

Conclusion: a significant percentage of college-going populations in urban settings probably have faulty eating habits.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2006, 18(2): 43–48
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