Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Adolescent; Adult; Body Dissatisfaction; Body Image; Body Weight; Feeding and Eating Disorders (epidemiology); Female; Humans; Male; Military Personnel; Prevalence; Young Adult


Injury risk is multifactorial including non-modifiable and modifiable factors such as nutrition and mental health. The purpose of this study was to estimate eating disorder risk and body image (BI) dissatisfaction among Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadets. A total of 102 (male: = 75, female: = 27; age: 20 ± 2 years) ROTC cadets self-reported height, current and ideal weight, and completed the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) and self-perceived BI current and perceived sex-specific figural stimuli. The overall eating disorder risk for ROTC cadets was 32.4%. No significant differences were found when comparing sex, ethnicity, or military branch. Overall risk of pathogenic behaviors included 11.8% who reported binge eating; 8.8% who used laxatives, diuretics, or diet pills; 8.8% who exercised for >60 min to control their weight; and 8.8% who lost 9.1 kg or more within the last 6 months. We identified significant interactions ( ≤ 0.01) between sex of the solider, overall perceptions of male and female soldiers, and BI self-perceptions. The ROTC cadets in this study displayed eating disorder risk and BI dissatisfaction, which is concerning for tactical readiness, long-term behavioral health issues, and injury from pathogenic behaviors. Education and quality healthcare are necessary to mitigate the increased risk of eating and BI dissatisfaction within this population.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

APA Citation

Smith, A., Emerson, D., Winkelmann, Z., Potter, D., & Torres-McGehee, T. (2020). Prevalence of eating disorder risk and body image dissatisfaction among ROTC cadets. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21), 8137.