Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of eating disorder (ED) tendency and potential risks related with activity energy expenditure (AEE) among
university female students of both athlete and non-athlete. (1) Compare the means of Eating Disorder Inventory -3 (EDI-3) subscales of university athlete and non-athlete students to determine if there
was a difference between the two groups at the Beijing sport university. (2) Identify the athlete or non-athletes who are at risk for ED related risk factor. (3) Measure the daily AEE for a selected
group with high ED tendency, and determine if there was a difference between athlete and non-athlete groups.
Methods: A total of 200 athletes (20.33 yrs) and 161 non-athletes (21.67 yrs) was involved in this study. EDI-3 was adopted to estimate the risk of ED. Two self-designed
questionnaires were also utilized to acquire the demographic characteristics, weight history, and menstrual status. Fifteen randomly selected persons with high ED tendency in each group were requested
to wear accelerometers (Actigragh GT3X) for consecutive 7 days at least 10~14 hours a day to record daily physical activities (PA).
Results: Main results include: (1) 26.3% of the athletes showed a high tendency of ED, which was significantly lower than that of non-athletes (49%, P < 0.01). Moreover, the athletes
differed significantly on all EDI-3 subscales from non-athletes. In addition the athletes scored significantly lower mean value on the Drive for Thinness (DT) and Body Dissatisfaction (BD) subscales.
(2) Body mass index, previous weight loss, BD and the difference between actual weight and ideal weight were potential risk factors in developing ED. (3) The prevalence of menstrual irregularities
(MI) among athletes was significantly higher than that among non-athletes (33.4% and 13.1%, respectively, P < 0.01). (4) The averaged AEE of athlete was 931.2 kcal/ day, significantly higher than the
amount of non-athlete, 530.2 kcal/day (P < 0.05). Moreover, averaged total time in MVPA (moderate to vigorous PA) of athlete was 105.5 min/day, significantly more than the amount of non-athlete, 57.9
kcal/day (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: (1) Non-athletic undergraduate students displayed a higher tendency of ED compared with athletes. So non-athletic students would be more prone to get risk of ED. (2) In
contrast, athletic students displayed more MI compared with non- athletes, which implied that ED and MI might not appear together. (3) Daily AEE in non-athletic students was not high, possibly due to
long-time light PA. This suggested that non-athletic ED tendency resulted from inadequate dietary intake other than insufficient energy availability because of heavy activity (Acknowledgment: This
work was supported by Project BSU 2015YB001).