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Revista Española de Salud Pública

versão On-line ISSN 2173-9110versão impressa ISSN 1135-5727


RODRIGUEZ MARTIN, Amelia et al. Physical exercise and eating habits: a study of teen-agers in Cádiz. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.73, n.1, pp.81-87. ISSN 2173-9110.

BACKGROUND: A increased number of eating disorders among teen-agers are currently being reported. Physical exercise, especially when done individually, is one of the methods chosen for losing weight. We are basing this study on the hypothesis of a larger number of eating habit disorders (EHD’s) in subjects who do physical exercise alone. This study describes and compares eating habits among teen-agers that do individual exercise as opposed to athletes who work out in groups or on teams. METHOD: Cross-section study of 532 teen-agers ages 14-18 who are enrolled in school and who do physical exercise, having been selected at random by means of a two-stage, stratified sampling process. The subjects were divided into two groups according whether they did individual physical exercise alone (Number: 216) or in groups (Number: 316). The eating habits of both groups were analyzed based on a questionnaire filled out by the subjects themselves. RESULTS: In the group preferring individual sports, females were predominant (degree of males 0.44). Of these females, their being on diets in order to lose weight was 3.12 times more frequent, compulsive eating episodes being 3.73 times more frequent. As regards behaviors which might be considered to be compensatory, there is a clear concentration thereof among those who do sports individually, hence 43% stated to voluntarily undergo periods of fasting (4.96 times more than those who exercise in groups), 46% stating to have brought on vomiting at one time or another for "dieting" purposes (3.76 more) and up to 26% have used laxatives with the intention of losing weight (2.56 times more than among athletes who play on teams). CONCLUSION: The existence of EHD’s seems to be associated with teen-agers who play individual sports as opposed to those who play on teams.

Palavras-chave : Teen-agers; Physical exercise; Eating habits; School.

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