Risk factors for eating disorders among Chinese and international university students: A comparative cross-sectional study

Areeba Yaqoob, Iqra Majeed, Hasnain Khalid, Shakeel Hussain, Muhammad Hamza Shahid, Fatima Majeed, Obaid-Ul-Hassan, Ijaz-Ul-Haq, Feng Qing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) and their association with socio-demographic and behavioural factors among university students. Methods: A cross-sectional study among university students (Chinese and international) in Nanjing, China. We collected the data from 877 students, of which 811 were eligible for this study. They submitted a self-administered questionnaire (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire 6 (EDE-Q6) related to socio-demographic, health variables and lifestyle factors. Data were assessed with the help of SPSS software. Results: A total of 401 Chinese and 410 international university students (49.44% vs. 50.55%) participated in this study. Binary logistic regression showed that young female adults of 18~25 years of age had more risk of developing eating disorders. Higher body mass index (BMI), such as overweight and obesity, were more influential risk factors (p < 0.001) for eating disorders. The significant risks (p < 0.001) EDs were found in students who were athletes, physically active, and involved in various extra-curricular activities. Alcohol and smoking were significant risk factors associated with eating disorders. Conclusion: The results indicated higher risks of eating disorders followed by objective binge eating and compensatory behaviour. In this scenario, early assessment and treatment are necessary to reduce the burden of eating disorders and to promote good nutritional practices among university students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalCentral European Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • binge eating disorder
  • compensatory behaviour
  • cross-sectional studies
  • EDE-Q
  • risk factors


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