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A third of Moroccan medical students suffer from eating disorders, says a new study

Moroccan medical students in Morocco are faced with abnormal eating habits that harm their well-being. A new study shows that a third of these students suffer from eating disorders.

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Abnormal eating habits have been recorded among young Moroccan students. A study published Monday, March the 11th, on academic publisher Dove Medical Press reveals that a third of medical students in the Kingdom suffer from eating disorders.

The survey entitled «Eating disorders among Moroccan medical students: cognition and behavior» and conducted by a group of international researchers, shows that Moroccan medical students are among subjects with high risk of eating disorders.

After evaluating 710 medical students, focusing on behaviors related to the disorder, researchers found out that the prevalence of eating disorders in students was 32.8% : 37.6% among females and 23.7% among males.

Moreover, results showed that «dimensions of bulimia, perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, and ineffectiveness, parts of the core of EDs, were found in future medical practitioners».

Body image and perfectionism

The study linked these eating disorders to the use of harmful weight-control behaviors, such as dieting and other ways of losing weight.

«Our investigation has demonstrated that the use of weight control behavior, such as diets, fasting, self-induced vomiting, and appetite suppressants, is quite widespread among medical students», wrote the authors of the study.

These behaviors are mostly connected to how these young students feel about their bodies and the pressure put on them by social media and other communication technologies. 

Here the study refers to «mass media and new information and communication technologies» which «play a major role, giving distorted and potentially misleading messages concerning nutrition, encouraging on the one hand excessive food uptake and consumption, while on the other promoting the ideal of a slim body typical of media stars and celebrities».

Researchers believe that EDs and weight-control behavior is higher among female medical students, who are targeted the most by the abovementioned distorted messages on nutrition.

The study concluded that further surveys must be conducted to understand this behavior among Moroccan individuals and medical students in particular. Moreover, researchers stressed that unlike former conclusions, not only white women and men from Western backgrounds can be affected by eating disorders.

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