Exercise dependence, disordered eating behaviors, and general nutrition knowledge in female group fitness instructors employed at college and university recreation centers
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Disordered eating behaviors (DEBs) may play a role in the development of eating disorders (EDs) in the general population. However, this has not been studied among female group fitness instructors. Several factors, such as exercise dependence and nutrition knowledge, may factor into the occurrence of DEBs. This cross-sectional study examined relationships between DEBs, exercise dependence, and nutrition knowledge. An internet-based survey was distributed to female group fitness instructors at Midwest colleges and universities in the Big Ten Conference. Fifty-six participants (mean age 25.48 +/-7.72 years) were included in the study. Pearson's correlations, linear regression, and MANOVA were conducted. The results indicated the majority (77.2%) of participants were at increased risk for exercise dependence and 50.9% of participants exhibited a clinical manifestation of DEBs based on the Disordered Eating Questionnaire (DEQ; mean score of 33.94 +/- 20.964). Statistically significant relationships between exercise dependence and DEBs (p<.001) and between DEBs and nutrition knowledge (p = .041) were found. These results suggest that nutrition knowledge and exercise dependence may influence DEBs in female group fitness instructors.