A two-stage epidemiologic study on prevalence of eating disorders in female university students in Wuhan, China

  • Jun TongEmail author
  • Shaojiang Miao
  • Jian Wang
  • Fan Yang
  • Haixiong Lai
  • Chunyan Zhang
  • Yanhua Zhang
  • L. K. George Hsu
Original Paper



The community prevalence of eating disorders among Chinese young women may now be similar to their western counterparts.


To investigate the prevalence of eating disorders (ED) in female university students in Wuhan, China, using a two-stage design.


In stage one, 99.1 % (N = 8,444) of eligible students (N = 8,521) completed the eating disorder inventory-1 (EDI-1) and a survey of relevant anthropomorphic data. A total of 421 women scored above the cut-off for EDE-1, as defined by a set of criteria similar to those of Keski-Rahkonen (Int J Eat Disord 39:754–762, 2006). 257 (61 %) of these case-positive women and a random sample of case-negative women (312 out of 8,023, 4 %) whose scores did not exceed the defined cut-off were interviewed using the eating disorder examination (EDE) and the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV axis I disorders (SCID-I).


On interview with the SCID-I, 79 women were diagnosed with an ED. Among them, 10 had anorexia nervosa (AN), 21 bulimia nervosa (BN), and 48 binge eating disorder (BED) The results showed a prevalence rate of 1.05 % (95 % CI = 0.02–2.08) for AN, 2.98 % (95 % CI = 1.21–4.74) for BN, and 3.53 % (95 % CI = 1.75–5.30) for BED.


The prevalence of ED among female university students in China is now similar to that of their western counterparts, and BED is the most common ED followed by BN and AN similarly.


Prevalence Two-stage Eating disorders Community sample China 



This work has been funded by National Key Technologies R&D Program (National demonstrative study on comprehensive screening, evaluation and intervention for issues of family, marriage and parent–child relation, 2009 BAI77B05) and Human development and mental health in Hubei province key laboratory open project (200902).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Tong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shaojiang Miao
    • 1
  • Jian Wang
    • 1
  • Fan Yang
    • 1
  • Haixiong Lai
    • 2
  • Chunyan Zhang
    • 3
  • Yanhua Zhang
    • 4
  • L. K. George Hsu
    • 5
  1. 1.Wuhan Mental Health CenterWuhan Hospital for Psychotherapy, affiliated to Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Counseling CenterWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  3. 3.Counseling CenterZhongnan University of Economics and LawWuhanChina
  4. 4.Counseling CenterHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  5. 5.Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA

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