The Implementation of Eating Disorder Education and Prevention Programs in High Schools
Green, Emalee T.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the retrospectively-reported implementation of eating disorder education and prevention programs in high schools among college freshmen, exploring whether characteristics of the schools’ influence rates of implementation. The sample consisted of 169 first-year students from an East Texas university. The sample was 19.5% male, 78.7% female, and 1.8% other, with ages ranging from 18-19. Students participated in an online survey consisting of questions regarding demographics, exposure to education and prevention programs, and high school characteristics (i.e., size of graduating class, public or private, and location of school). Results demonstrated that few students were exposed to any eating disorder programming in high school (29.0%), with no students reporting that they were exposed to prevention programming. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in the implementation of eating disorder education programs based on the size of the participant’s graduating class, whether the school was public or private, or where the school was located (public, rural, or urban areas). These results suggest that, universally, there is a lack of prevention programs being implemented in high school—a significant public health problem given existing evidence that prevention programs successfully prevent eating disorders in college and high school students.