International Journal of Exercise Science 12(4): 1001-1012, 2019. Many young adults experience distorted body image and decreased body satisfaction. To attain more “ideal” bodies, negative alterations in eating and/or exercise habits are common. This study’s objective was to compare disordered eating and muscle dysmorphia in undergraduates who participate in aerobic-, anaerobic-, or flexibility-predominant exercise; mixed exercise; or no exercise. One hundred twelve undergraduate students (age 21.2 ± 4.8 years; BMI 25.0 ± 4.6 kg/m2) were recruited from the student union and recreation center. The Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder Inventory (MDDI), and demographic/exercise questions were administered via iPad. Exercisers reported ≥ 150 minutes/week of exercise. Predominant exercise type was defined as ≥ 50% reported minutes from one type. Between-sex differences were assessed by t-tests, while exercise type differences were assessed using analysis of variance. Disordered eating was exhibited in 25.9% of undergraduates. Females had higher EAT-26 total and dieting subscale scores (p< 0.05 for both). EAT-26 total, dieting subscale, and bulimia and food preoccupation subscales were higher in aerobic-predominant compared to anaerobic-predominant exercisers (p< 0.05 for all). Muscle dysmorphia was exhibited in 7.1% of undergraduates. Males had higher MDDI total and drive for size subscale scores, while females scored higher on the appearance intolerance subscale (p< 0.05 for all). Aerobic- and anaerobic-predominant exercisers had higher MDDI total and functional impairment subscale scores than non-exercisers (p< 0.05). Non-exercisers were largely unaffected by disordered eating and muscle dysmorphia. Females and aerobic-predominant exercisers exhibited more symptoms of disordered eating, while males exhibited more symptoms of muscle dysmorphia. University campuses should consider targeted education for these groups.
Lechner, Taylor E.; Gill, Emily M.; Drees, Madeleine J.; Hamady, Carrie M.; and Ludy, Mary-Jon
"Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Muscle Dysmorphia in College Students by Predominant Exercise Type,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 12
4, Pages 989 - 1000.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol12/iss4/13