Browsing Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin by Subjects
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Eating concerns and media influences in an Irish adolescent context.OBJECTIVE: EPICA is the first large-scale Irish study of a school-going population examining the impact of media influences on eating attitudes. METHOD: Students were screened using the EAT-26, EDI-III and a study-specific questionnaire. A sub-sample of parents' views was included. RESULTS: Three thousand and thirty-one students (mean age 14.74) and 56 parents enrolled. The majority (71.4%) of adolescents felt adversely affected by media portrayal of body weight and shape, with more than a quarter (25.6%) believing it to be 'far too thin'. A significant correlation between media impact and high EAT scores (chi2 = 450.78, df = 2, p < 0.05) and EDI-III scores (chi2 = 387.51, df = 4, p < 0.05) was demonstrated. Parents also view media portrayal as too thin (94.7%), less than half are adversely affected by it (49.2%) but the majority (71.9%) believe their children to be. CONCLUSION: Media portrayal of body weight and shape is correlated with eating psychopathology and may affect adolescents more than adults. School psycho-educational programmes and media policies are urgently needed to minimise any detrimental effect.