Why do normal weight young women look for diet-therapy? Findings from a pilot study in a clinical and non-clinical population

Velia Boschi, O. Bellini, G. Matrone, F. Ricciardi Lo Schiavo, M. Siervo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The behavioural factors that drive a normal weight woman to embark on a diet and to look for nutritional support in weight loss clinics are still not completely understood. A pilot cross-sectional study was carried out in 70 young (age range: 18-35yr), normal weight women attending a weight loss clinic in South of Italy (Naples). They were compared to a population of 94 normal weight students (age range:17-23 yr) who had never attended a weight loss clinic. Subjects with eating disorders have been excluded. Weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Eating behaviour was assessed using a validated Italian version of the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI) questionnaire. The two groups were matched for BMI (22.4 vs 22.1 kg/m 2), smoking and physical activity. Students were more educated and less likely to be on a diet at the time of the study. Students had statistically significant lower scores for drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, inadequacy and interpersonal disrupt. The bulimia scale was the only significant predictor (p<0.05) of BMI in the patients' group; body dissatisfaction (p<0.05) predicted BMI in the control group. This study has shown that weight concern and health awareness are not the only factors that lead a normal weight woman to look for nutritional counselling but there is an underlying substrate of psychological and social distress behind the request, which should be properly assessed before starting any nutritional therapy in the clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e35-e38
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Dieting
  • Eating disorders inventory
  • Normal weight
  • Students
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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