Skip to main content

Analysis of eating disorders among 12–17 year-old adolescents in the island of Gran Canaria


A clinical pathology characterized by disturbances in eating behaviour has been often associated to socio-cultural factors that influence the psychopathology of these disorders. The alarming increase in the number of teenagers with eating disorders underscores the need to promote research on the underlying causes, and to identify high-risk subpopulations in need of effective targeted treatment. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of eating disorders among an adolescent population of both sexes on the island of Gran Canaria. The sample was composed of adolescent boys and girls aged 12 to 17 years old (N=1364) who resided in different municipalities of Gran Canaria. The EAT-40 questionnaire was administered (cut-off point at 30), and body mass index measurements were assessed. The mean BMI for the 1364 subjects was 21.8 Kg/m2; 15% were underweight, and of these at least 1% obtained BMI values below 15 Kg/m2. Thus, 13.4% of adolescents were potentially at risk of eating disorders according to the EAT-40 questionnaire. Moreover, the BMI was not significantly correlated to the EAT-40 and was not considered a sufficient parameter to establish the incidence of eating disorders.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Jacobi C, Hayward C, de Zwaan M, et al. Coming to terms with risk factors for eating disorders: application of risk terminology and suggestions for a general taxonomy. Psychol Bull 2004; 130: 19–65.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Striegel-Moore RH, Bulik CM. Risk factors for eating disorders. Am Psychol 2007; 62: 181–98.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Becker AE, Burwell RA, Gilman SE, et al. Eating behaviours and attitudes following prolonged exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. Br J Psychiatry 2002; 180: 509–14.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Becker AE, Hamburg P. Culture, media, and the eating disorders. Harv Rev Psychiatry 1996; 4: 163–7.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    McCabe MP, Ricciardelli LA. The development of the perceived sociocultural influences on body image and body change questionnaire. Int J Behav Med 2001; 8: 19–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Thomas K, Ricciardelli LA, Williams RJ. Gender traits and self-concept as indicators of problem eating and body dissatisfaction among children. Sex Roles 2000; 43: 441–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Cusumano DL, Thompson JK. Body image and body shape ideals in magazines: exposure, awareness, and internalization. Sex Roles 1997; 37: 701–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Stice E, Shaw H. Eating disorder prevention programs: A meta-analytic review. Psychol Bull 2004; 13: 206–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    De Castro JM, Goldstein SJ. Eating attitudes and behaviors of pre- and postpubertal females: clues to the etiology of eating disorders. Physiol Behav 2005; 58: 15–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Killen JD, Hayward C, Litt I, et al. Is puberty a risk factor for eating disorders? Am J Dis Child 1992; 146: 323–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Toro J, Castro J, García M, et al. Eating attitudes, sociodemographic factors and body shape evaluation in adolescence. Br J Med Psychol 1989; 62: 61–70.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Hobart JA, Smucker DR. The female athlete triad. Am Fam Physician 2000; 61: 3357–64.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. DSM-IV-TR (4th Edition). Washington DC, 1994, pp 539–50.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Hebebrand J, Himmelmann GW, Heseker H, et al. Use of percentiles for the body mass index in anorexia nervosa: Diagnostic, epidemiological, and therapeutic considerations. Int J Eat Disord 1998; 19: 359–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, et al. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. Br Med J 2000; 320: 1240–3.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Jones J, Bennett S, Olmsted M, et al. Disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in teenaged girls: a schoolbased study. Can Med Assoc J 2001; 165.

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Johnson-Sabine E, Woods K, Patton G, et al. Abnormal eating attitudes in London schoolgirls — a prospective epidemiological study: factors associated with abnormal response on screening questionnaires. Psychol Med 1988; 18: 615–22.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Neumark-Sztainer D, Hannan PJ. Weight-related behaviors among adolescent girls and boys: results from a national survey. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2000; 154: 569–77.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Garner DM, Garfinkel PE. The Eating Attitudes Test: An index of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Psychol Med 1979; 9: 273–9.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Berland NW, Thompson JK, Linton PH. Correlation between the EAT-26 and the EAT-40, the Eating Disorders Inventory and the Restrained Eating Inventory. Int J Eat Disord 2006; 5: 569–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Cervera S, Lahortiga F, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al. Neuroticism and low self-esteem as risk factors for incident eating disorders in a prospective cohort study. Int J Eat Disord 2003; 33: 271–80.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Canals J, Barceló R, Domènech E. Cuestionario de actitudes alimentarias EAT en una población de edad puberal. Revista de Psiquiatría Infantil 1990; 4: 265–8.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Peláez MA. Estudio epidemiológico de los TCA en población escolarizada de la comunidad de Madrid. Tesis doctoral. Departamento de psicología clínica experimental, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Vega T, Rasillo MA, Lozano JE. ItEstudio del riesgo de trastornos de la conducta alimentaria en estudiantes de enseñanza de secundaria de Castilla y León. En Junta de Castilla y León. Trastornos de la conducta alimentaria en Castilla y León. España, Lovader, 2001, pp 27–62.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Loureiro-Cachón VE. Comportamiento anoréxico en la población adolescente femenina de tercero de BUP del municipio de La Coruña. PhD Thesis, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Rodríguez-Cano T, Beato-Fernández L, Belmonte- Llario A. New contributions to the prevalence of eating disorders in Spanish adolescents: detection of false negatives. Eur Psychiatry 2005; 20: 173–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Lindsay RS, Hanson RL, Roumain J, et al. Body mass index as a measure of adiposity in children and adolescents: relationship to adiposity by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and to cardiovascular risk factors. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001; 86: 4061–7.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Saldaña C. Trastornos del comportamiento alimentario. Madrid, Fundación Universidad Empresa, 1994.

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Carbajo G, Canals J, Fernández J, et al. Cuestionario de actitudes alimentarias en una muestra de adolescentes: dos años de seguimiento. Psiquis 1995; 16: 21–6.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to C. Mateos-Padorno PhD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mateos-Padorno, C., Scoffier, S., Polifrone, M. et al. Analysis of eating disorders among 12–17 year-old adolescents in the island of Gran Canaria. Eat Weight Disord 15, e190–e194 (2010).

Download citation


  • Eating disorder
  • Eating Attitude Test (EAT-40)
  • prevalence
  • Gran Canaria