Objective – The study investigated eating disordered behaviours and life-habits correlated in a large sample of Northern Italian adolescents of both sexes. Methods – The study had a cross-sectional design. 2595 students (2,146 responders; mean age 17.2±1.7 years) attending high schools in Savona (Italy) in April and May 2001 were sampled. To assess eating attitudes, the Inventory for the Screening of Eating Disorders (ISED) was self-administered. Inquiries regarding possible risk factors for eating disorders were also made: socio-economic status, body weight, smoking and alcohol drinking habits, illegal drugs use. Results – Females scored significantly higher than males at ISED (13.4±7.7 vs. 7.6±5.8). 28.5% of females had a total ISED score above the cut-off point (18/19). Unhealthy eating behaviours were strongly associated with higher BMI, body image disturbance and illegal drugs use in both sexes; age had significant role only in males. No significant association between disordered eating behaviours and socio-economic status, smoking habit and alcohol consumption were found. Conclusions – Symptoms of eating disorders are quite spread in the Northern Italian female adolescents and associate with illegal drugs use. These data, with not negligible frequency of unhealthy eating behaviours and attitudes in males too, suggest that primary and secondary preventive interventions for teen-agers should be got ready.
Declaration of Interest: 1) the study received the financial support by Regione Liguria and ASL 2 of Savona; 2) the study didn't receive any forms of financing by pharmaceutical company support and any honoraria for consultancies or interventions was received by each author in the last two years; 3) any other involvements that might be considered a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article. The authors state that if and when the manuscript accepted for publication, they automatically agree to transfer the copyright to the publisher