Jordan Journal of Nursing Research
Prevalence of Risks for Eating Disorders among Undergraduate University Students: A Cross-sectional Study from United Arab Emirates


Heyam Dalky; Adam Khraisat; Mona Albalushi; Sara Ibrahim; Abrar Ahmed; Fatima Ali; Reem Ibrahim;


Background: Eating disorders are psychological disturbances that result in severe and long-lasting abnormal eating patterns and consequences to a variety of physical and psychological components of health.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of risk to eating disorders among Emirati female undergraduate university students aged from 18 to 21 years at a higher college at UAE.

Methods: Utilizing a Cross-sectional design, a total of 501 students recruited conveniently to participate in this study. A questionnaire consisted of demographical and eating pattern sections and the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) was used and shared with the students online.

Results: The prevalence of female students with risks of eating disorders was 13.97%. The most frequent (13.6%) statement chosen by students was “I am terrified of being overweight.” Almost, 50% of the students were not satisfied with their weight, and 48.1% were dissatisfied with their physical appearance. Only 8.18% of the female students have a family history of EDs, and 8.98% were confirmed cases of eating disorders. Yet, the study revealed no statistically significant correlations between age, (r= 0.036, P= 0.416); BMI (r= 0.015, P= 0.734) or meals/day (r= -0.076, P= 0.087) and EAT-26 scores.  

Conclusion: The risks of eating disorders in the current study were lower compared to previous studies. Regardless, education programs are required to increase awareness regarding eating disorders.

Implications for Nursing: Extended community-based educational programs are suggested to enhance female students’ knowledge about EDs, there consequences on health, and methods to promote healthy eating habits and positive attitudes toward body image.





Eating disorders, higher college students, United Arab Emirates, female adolescents, Anorexia Nervosa, Eat-26