Date: 17 Oct 2013

Prevalence and gender differences in eating attitudes and physical activity among Norwegians

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to examine gender differences in self-reported eating disorder symptoms in relation to the main reasons for participating in physical activity and the amount of weekly training among Norwegian adults. The study sample consisted of 3084 persons. Scores were obtained for the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) and from a self-constructed questionnaire concerning physical activity and sociodemographic information. The results showed that women had twice the risk for >40 EDI scores than men (Odds Ratio= 2.45, 95% Confidence Interval 1.97–3.05). The main predictors for the weekly amount of physical activity were associated with improvement in physical performance. Both sexes with >40 EDI scores participated in activity that resulted in body weight reduction and improved physical appearance. The results gave reasons to focus further on the narrowing gap between genders concerning eating disorder attitudes. The amount of weekly physical activity was not a predictor for high EDI scores. The pattern and type of activity may be more important in relation to pathological eating attitudes and exercise-related behavior.