The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention program that combined nutrition education and prevention of disordered eating in a group of female professional dance students. Thirty-two dancers, aged 19-25 years, took part in the program. Evaluation was done by a series of questionnaires that participants were asked to complete on 3 occasions. Assessments of body composition and dietary intake were also performed. Significant improvements in nutrition knowledge as well as a decrease in abnormal eating behavior and dietary restraint were observed at post intervention. At 6-month follow-up, the positive effects were maintained and further benefits were recorded; only nutrition knowledge showed a minor decline. Participants who were at higher risk for adopting abnormal eating behavior benefited the most from the program. These findings encourage the implementation of intervention programs in groups of young women that experience particular pressures for controlling body weight.
The authors are with the Laboratory of Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Harokopio University, El Venizelou 70, Athens 17671, Greece.