Eating Disorders and School and Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Among University Students: Policy and Practical Implications

Eating disorders represent a public health concern because of the increased risk for medical or psychological problems, greater use of health services, and reduced productivity. College is especially a high-risk period for the onset of eating disorders. Yet, little university student-data exist on the prevalence or correlates of eating disorders. This research was supported by a 2013-2014 student-faculty collaborative grant from the UW Oshkosh. It examined the prevalence of eating disorders among all undergraduate and graduate students at this university, using the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V. It also explored reasons for not seeking help when students experience binge eating in particular. Finally, it offered new knowledge on correlates of binge eating by testing several hypotheses. An anonymous online survey was implemented. The usable response rate was 9.77% (1165 of the 11923 surveys sent). Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, independent t tests, and linear regression analyses were performed. Practical and policy implications will be shared to build awareness about student eating disorders and to spur communities into action.