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Prevalence of Eating Disorders Among Medical Students in a Lebanese Medical School: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Bizri M, Geagea L, Kobeissy F, Talih F

Received 5 June 2020

Accepted for publication 24 July 2020

Published 4 August 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 1879—1887


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Maya Bizri, Luna Geagea, Firas Kobeissy, Farid Talih

American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Correspondence: Farid Talih Email

Background: Eating disorders are among the most severe psychiatric disorders. Medical students are subjected to high levels of stress and have a high risk of developing burnout and mental health problems, including eating disorders. Due to societal stigma and lack of awareness, it is plausible that disordered eating behaviors among students may go unrecognized and under-reported. The current study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and possible factors associated with eating disorders among medical students at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon (AUB).
Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in 2017 at AUB. Electronic anonymous surveys were sent to all 412 medical students, with a mean age of 23, enrolled in our four-year medical school. In addition to demographic data, students were asked to complete two validated questionnaires, the SCOFF and EAT-26, to assess eating disorders risk.
Results: Total responses were 156, out of which 124 completed the whole survey. A total of 131 participants completed the Eat-26 questionnaire and 124 participants completed the SCOFF questionnaire. Out of those, 17% on EAT-26 and 19% on SCOFF were found to be at high risk of developing eating disorders.
Conclusion: There seems to be a high level of underrecognized and under-treated disordered eating behaviors among female medical students at AUB. Raising awareness among medical students is important, as well as developing better prevention and treatment strategies.

Keywords: eating disorder, medical students, middle east, eating behaviors

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