Sign up for Englemed updates from TwitterSign up for Englemed updates from Facebook
Contact Englemed
Our contact email address.
We can provide a specialist, tailored health and medical news service for your site.
Click here for more information
RSS graphic XML Graphic Add to Google
About Englemed news services - services and policies.
Englemed News Blog - Ten years and counting.
Diary of a reluctant allergy sufferer - How the British National Health Service deals with allergy.
BookshopFor books on women's health, healthy eating ideas, mental health issues, diabetes, etc click here

WWW Englemed
Copyright Notice. All reports, text and layout copyright Englemed Ltd, 52 Perry Avenue, Birmingham UK B42 2NE. Co Registered in England No 7053778 Some photos copyright Englemed Ltd, others may be used with permission of copyright owners.
Disclaimer: Englemed is a news service and does not provide health advice. Advice should be taken from a medical professional or appropriate health professional about any course of treatment or therapy.
Gene linked to ectopic pregnancy risk
Wed February 24th - Scientists have identified a gene which may be linked to the risk of ectopic pregnancy. More
Drug-resistant bacteria spread rapidly during travel
Wed February 24th - International travellers are a high risk for transmission of drug resistant bacteria, according to a study published today. More
On 09/10/2020 William Haworth wrote:
How long is recovery time after proceedure... on Ablation cuts atrial fibrillat...
On 08/02/2018 David Kelly wrote:
Would you like to write a piece about this to be i... on Researchers unveil new pain re...
On 23/10/2017 Cristina Pereira wrote: on HIV breakthrough - MRC...
On 12/09/2017 Aparna srikantam wrote:
Brilliant finding! indeed a break through in under... on Leprosy research breakthrough...
On 01/07/2017 Annetta wrote:
I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 12 years.... on Seaweed plan for antimicrobial...
guide to breast disorders guide to womb disorders guide to menopause Complete Women's Health: from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists For books and family gift ideas click here
RSS graphic XML Graphic

School gender mix affects eating disorder diagnosis

Friday April 22nd, 2016

The proportion of girls to boys in a school affects the risk of girls developing eating disorders, according to a new study.

Girls who attend schools with few boys are more likely to be diagnosed with a disorder than those with a more equal mix of girls and boys, researchers found.

A UK-Swedish study also revealed that the diagnosis is also more likely if former set of girls have university-educated parents, while the latter tend to have parents with lower qualifications.

The research says even after taking into account individual factors that would make someone more likely to develop an eating disorder, there were still differences in the rates of eating disorder according to the school attended.

Researchers from Oxford University, UCL, the University of Bristol, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm used routinely collected data from Sweden to come to their conclusions.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The research team accounted for factors as diverse as parental income, whether parents had a history of mental ill health, parental education, the number of siblings and birth weight among others. Even allowing for all these characteristics, there were still variations between schools.

Lead researcher Dr Helen Bould, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, said: “Eating disorders have an enormous effect on the lives of young people who suffer from them - it is important to understand the risk factors so that we can address them.

“For a long time clinicians in the field have noted that they seem to see more young people with eating disorders from some schools than others, but this is the first empirical evidence that this is the case.

“Unfortunately, this study can't tell us what it is about schools that affects the rates of eating disorders: it might be an unintentional effect of the aspirational culture of some schools that makes eating disorders more likely; it might be that eating disorders are contagious and can spread within a school.

“On the other hand, it could be that some schools are better than others at identifying eating disorders in their students and ensuring they get diagnosed and treated.”

Sweden does not have any single sex schools, due to its strict laws on gender equality.

It is difficult to extrapolate these findings to the different educational system in the UK, where there are selective all-girls schools that are likely to have a high proportion of highly educated parents. However, given the results in Sweden it is possible that such schools would have higher rates of eating disorders.

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other eating disorders, affect 5.7% of adolescent girls – almost two in a class of 30.

Bould H, De Stavola B, Magnusson C et al. The influence of school on whether girls develop eating disorders. Int. J. Epidemiol. (2016). doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw037

Tags: Europe | Infancy to Adolescence | Mental Health | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

Printer friendly page Printer friendly page

Comment on this article:

<a>,<b> & <p> tags allowed
Please enter the letters displayed:
(not case sensitive)