University students binge eating and its impact on work and school productivity

by Cheri L Stoffel

Institution: University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
Year: 2015
Keywords: Health behavior - Age factor; College students attitudes; Impulse control disorder; Eating disorders
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2120715
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/73741


A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Public Administration Healthcare Management The literature suggests that people of all ages engage in risky eating patterns, with some developing eating disorders. The average age for developing eating disorders is adolescence and early adulthood, the age of the traditional university student. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is defined as recurrent episodes of overeating accompanied by a sense of loss of control and guilt. If untreated, it may cause serious medical and psychological damage. The literature suggests that many are not aware of BED symptoms, and that university students underutilize treatment for various reasons including embarrassment in seeking treatment and cost of treatment. University students engaging in such behaviors may unknowingly be worsening their current health and increasing risks for additional health conditions in the future. Binge eating is positively associated with obesity; obesity and binge eating are positively associated with short sleep duration and physical inactivity. Additionally, binge eating and obesity have been associated with work productivity and functioning impairment. Prevalence of BED and impairment of students' work and classroom productivity, and regular daily and social activities, may warrant implementation of policies or programs to combat these effects. In the fall of 2013, all University of Wisconsin Oshkosh undergraduate and graduate students were invited to participate in a survey assessing the prevalence binge eating of clinical significance, and student awareness of symptoms and treatment resources. Further information was gathered to investigate the effects of BED, adjusted for certain health behaviors (i.e., obesity, sleep duration, and physical activity) on work and classroom productivity and activity impairment. Data were collected online using pre-established instruments. Statistical analyses were done, using descriptive statistics, Pearson's chi-squared, Pearson's correlation, and multiple regression analysis. Results of the statistical analyses indicated that 7.8% of the sample self-reported symptoms consistent with a clinical BED diagnosis. Respondents indicated a lack of awareness of the symptoms and treatment resources for BED. Binge eating was more common among obese students than non-obese students. Moderate binge eating, extreme obesity, physical inactivity, and short sleep may contribute to classroom productivity, daily activity and social activity impairment in students. Future research testing the relationship of university students with BED and the relationship to classroom productivity and regular daily activity impairment is needed to corroborate findings Advisors/Committee Members: Filipova, Anna.