Depression Anxiety, Stress and Maladaptive Eating Attitudes in Women with no Physical Exercise

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Sarah Mahmood
Sidra Sattar


Sports, brain, physical activity


Maladaptive eating attitudes have been vastly observed as leading cause of obesity and mental health problems among women. In current era, respective to the trends of fashion, media and society, when the physique (body shape) of women is not in shape, depression anxiety and stress occupy their mental health. This leads to maladaptive eating attitudes among women who are physically inactive while others adopt fitness plans like joining fitness centers for physical exercise. The research intended to examine the difference in co-occurrence of maladaptive eating attitudes, depression, anxiety and stress between two groups of women. Five hundred women (N = 500) were approached. 250 from fitness centers with exercise regularity and
250 from residences and academic institutes of Pakistan who never had any exercise. Scales applied were Beck’s Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) and Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26). Commonly accepted Body Mass Index (BMI) ranges, overweight: 25 to 30 and obese: over

30, weight machine and BMI formula were considered for data collection. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 21st version). Findings suggested that there was strong positive correlation between irregular eating attitudes and depression, anxiety and stress among women who had never done any physical exercise. Results prominently indicated that women who had been physically inactive (M = 1.45, SD = .254) scored higher on EAT-26 scale t = 12.6, as compared to women who exercised regularly (M = 1.09, SD = .374). Maladaptive eating attitudes, depression, anxiety and stress reveal higher levels of interrelatedness with each other. Physical exercise had positive impact on reducing symptoms of all ailments and maladaptive attitudes among women. Physical exercise thus cures long-term negative consequences of depression anxiety and stress like “sitting disease” and help women stay healthier.

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