Prevalence of eating disorders among female Israel defence force recruits

Z. Scheinberg*, A. Bleich, M. Koslovsky, A. Apter, M. Mark, B. M. Kotler, Y. L. Danon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is assumed that the incidence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in the general population has been increasing. Medical personnel in the IDF also believe this to be true with regard to their female soldiers. We administered the eating attitude test (EAT) to 1112 female soldiers at the beginning of their military service and determined weight and height for each. Those whose EAT scores were high or whose weights were low were then interviewed by the study psychiatrist and the author. 2 of them (0.2%) were found to be suffering from anorexia nervosa. Both were identified by their low weights; their EAT scores were both normal. 27 (2.4%) were diagnosed as having a partial eating disorder syndrome, in a third of whom it was severe. The severe cases were also identified by their weights and not by EAT scores. In addition, 4 (0.5%) had bulimia nervosa, all of whom were identified from their EAT scores. These findings are similar to those of some of the most recent studies in the field. The deficiencies of the EAT scale were more apparent in this than in other studies. Because of its relatively low PPV as well as the apparent reluctance of many subjects to answer truthfully, the scale is not effective by itself for screening purposes. As was shown in this study, measuring weight and height in addition considerably improved accuracy of screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78, 156
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 1992
Externally publishedYes


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