Obstetric complications and mother’s age at delivery are predictors of eating disorder symptoms among Health Science college students
To identify the association between perinatal/neonatal factors and symptoms of eating disorders among college students.
Four hundred and eight college students (283 women), aged 18 to 23 years old, enrolled in the first semester of a Bachelor of Health Science degree program were included in the sample. Eating disorder symptoms and body image dissatisfaction were assessed with the Eating Attitudes Test and Bulimic Investigatory Test of Edinburgh. Information regarding birth weight, breastfeeding, obstetric complications, mother’s age at delivery, type of delivery, and birth order were self-reported by the volunteers after consulting their parents. Association between perinatal and neonatal factors and symptoms of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa were assessed by binary logistic regression adjusted for sex, age, and body mass index.
The likelihood of presenting with symptoms of anorexia nervosa was 0.5 time lower for those students born from the oldest mothers (odds ratio – OR=0.37; 95% confidence interval – 95%CI: 0.17-0.83). Relative to bulimia nervosa, the risk was higher among students who reported obstetric complications (OR=2.62; 95%CI: 1.03-6.67).
We observed the association between perinatal and neonatal factors with symptoms of eating disorders in college students.