Eating disorders obviously depend on the gender distribution in schools

School environment with significant impact on the risk of eating disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa( serious anorexia nervosa) are a serious threat to one's health. In particular, girls and young women are increasingly developing such complaints, with numerous possible causes being discussed. In a recent study, British and Swedish scientists have now found that gender distribution at the school they attend and their parents' educational attainment are closely related to the likelihood of girls having an eating disorder.

Earlier clinical studies indicated that the likelihood of eating disorder( ED) among girls may vary significantly between schools. The research team of the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has focused in this study on the gender distribution in the schools visited and here after correlations withthe risk of an eating disorder was sought. The average educational level of the parents was also taken into account.

The proportion of girls in a school and the educational level of the parents significantly influence the risk of an eating disorder.(Image: RioPatuca Images / fotolia.com) The proportion of girls in a school and the educational level of the parents significantly influence the risk of an eating disorder.(Image: RioPatuca Images / fotolia.com)

2.4 percent of girls developed an eating disorder
In our research we hypothesized that the gender distribution and average parenting levels at a school influence the risk of eating disordersHelen Bould of the University of Oxford and colleagues report. In their study, the researchers analyzed data from 55,059 Stockholm-born women who attended school between 2002 and 2010.The cumulative probability of developing an eating disorder was about 2.4 percent for a period of five years in 16 to 20-year-old women, according to the researchers.

Educational level of parents and proportion of girls in schools as risk factors?
With every increase in the proportion of girls in a school, the likelihood of eating disorders has increased according to the scientists. The same has been shown by an increase in the proportion of children with at least one parent with higher education. For example, the "predicted probability of an average girl developing an eating disorder was 1.3 percent at a school with 25 percent girls, where 25 percent of parents have a college education, and 3.3 percent at a school with 75 percent girls, where75 percent of parents have higher education, "Bould and colleagues write in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Causes of increased risk unclear
Researchers conclude that girls are at a higher risk of eating disorders in schools with a high proportion of female students and well-educated parents, regardless of individual risk factors. The causes of this are still unclear. Whether and how the tendency to eating disorders between the students transfers, the scientists now want to clarify in further studies. In any case, the school environment needs greater consideration in the search for possible risk factors for eating disorders.(fp)

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