Modification of eating attitudes and behavior in adolescent girls: A controlled study.
Stewart DA., Carter JC., Drinkwater J., Hainsworth J., Fairburn CG.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based eating disorder prevention program designed to reduce dietary restraint and concern about shape and weight among adolescent girls. METHOD: A total of 474 girls aged 13-14 years received the program as part of their normal school curriculum. An assessment-only control group included 386 pupils. Measures of eating disorder features, self-esteem, and knowledge were administered before and after the intervention and at 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: Immediately following the intervention, there was a small reduction in dietary restraint and attitudes to shape and weight in the index group, whereas there was no change in the control group. This reduction was not maintained at 6-month follow-up although the dietary restraint scores of the index group remained lower than those of the control group. DISCUSSION: This prevention program achieved change in eating attitudes and behavior, although the change was modest in size and not sustained. Focusing on a high-risk subgroup of dieters might be a more fruitful primary prevention strategy.