The risk of eating disorders and academic performance in adolescents: DADOS study

Mireia Adelantado-Renau, María Reyes Beltran-Valls, Miriam Toledo-Bonifás, Carlos Bou-Sospedra, M.ª Carmen Pastor, Diego Moliner-Urdiales


Introduction: eating disorders (ED) are complex multifactorial chronic diseases with adverse consequences on cognition in adolescence.

Objectives: the main aim of the present study was to analyze the association between the risk of ED and academic performance in adolescents, considering the key role of weight status.

Methods: a total of 261 adolescents (13.9 ± 0.3 years) from the DADOS (Deporte, Adolescencia y Salud) Study were included in the analysis. The risk of ED was assessed using the Sick Control on Fast Food (SCOFF) questionnaire. Weight status was assessed by body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2). Academic performance was assessed through final grades and through the Spanish version of the SRA Test of Educational Ability (TEA).

Results: the risk of ED was negatively associated with academic grades, and with verbal and numeric abilities measured through TEA. Adolescents with non-eating disorder risk showed higher scores in academic grades (but not in the TEA components). Overweight and obese adolescents reported higher risk of ED.

Conclusions: the risk of ED is negatively associated with academic performance, being higher in overweight and obese adolescents. Interventional programs aimed to improve academic performance should take into account weight status and the risk of ED.

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