CORRELATES OF ATTENTION PROBLEM WITH EATING DISORDER AMONG OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN [email protected] STUDY

Back to Page Authors: Zahari Ishak, Low Suet Fin, Wan Abdul Hakim Bin Wan Ibrahim, Fuziah Md Zain, Abqariyah Yahya, Rusidah Selamat, Muhammad Yazid Jalaludin, Abdul Halim Mokhtar

Keywords: obesity, eating disorder, attention problems, secondary school children

Abstract: This study aimed to elucidate the relationship between attention problem with eating disorder among overweight and obese secondary school children who participated in the ‘My Body is Fit and Fabulous’ at school ([email protected]) obesity intervention program for six months. This was a school-based cluster randomized controlled trial with a proportionate stratified random sampling. There were 757 overweight and obese children with a mean age(SD) of 14.56(1.318) years old in this study. The children were from 15 secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. The symptom of attention problem faced by the children was measured using the Youth Self-Report (YSR) while eating disorder among the children were measured using the Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26) at baseline. The symptom of attention problem has a very strong correlation (rs=.80, p<.001) with ADHD checklist based on DSM-IV administered in an interview format and a moderate correlation (rs=.53, p<.001) with the diagnosis of ADHD by clinicians based on clinical evaluation. There are three sub-constructs in the EAT-26 which are dieting, bulimia and food preoccupation as well as oral control. Spearman’s rank-order correlation was run to find the correlation between the symptom of thought problem with an eating disorder. Weak positive correlations that are statistically significant were found between the symptom of attention problem with; dieting (rs(757)=.090, p<.05); bulimia and food preoccupation (rs(757)=.239, p<.001); oral control (rs(757)=.102, p<.01); and the total EAT-26 score (rs(757)=.145, p<.001). Our findings suggest that overweight and obese children with an eating disorder might have a comorbid condition of ADHD since the symptom of attention problem has a moderate correlation with ADHD diagnosis.