University of Oulu

Nurkkala, M., Keränen, AM., Koivumaa-Honkanen, H. et al. Disordered eating behavior, health and motives to exercise in young men: cross-sectional population-based MOPO study. BMC Public Health 16, 483 (2016).

Disordered eating behavior, health and motives to exercise in young men : cross-sectional population-based MOPO study

Saved in:
Author: Nurkkala, Marjukka1,2,3,4; Keranen, Anna-Maria1,3,4,5; Koivumaa-Honkanen, Heli6,7,8,9,10,11,12;
Organizations: 1Oulu Deaconess Inst, Dept Sports & Exercise Med, POB 365, FI-90101 Oulu, Finland.
2Univ Oulu, Ctr Life Course Hlth Res, Fac Med, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
3Univ Hosp Oulu, Med Res Ctr Oulu, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
4Univ Oulu, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
5Univ Oulu, Univ Hosp Oulu, Internal Med, Clin Res Ctr, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
6Univ Eastern Finland, Psychiat, Inst Clin Med, Dept Psychiat, POB 100, FI-70029 Kuopio, Finland.
7Oulu Univ Hosp, Clin Child Psychiat, POB 26, FI-90029 Oys Oulu, Finland.
8South Savonia Hosp Dist, KUH, Dept Psychiat, Mikkeli, Finland.
9North Karelia Cent Hosp, Dept Psychiat, Joensuu, Finland.
10SOSTERI, Savonlinna, Finland.
11SOTE, Iisalmi, Finland.
12Lapland Hosp Dist, Rovaniemi, Finland.
13Univ Oulu, Ctr Environm & Resp Hlth Res, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
14Univ Oulu, Fac Med, Res Unit Med Imaging Phys & Technol, POB 5000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland.
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2016
Publish Date: 2021-07-15


Background: Being overweight is an increasing problem among young people, among whom disordered eating behavior is linked with weight problems as well as unhealthy weight control. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether health factors and motives to exercise differ in young men by the type of disordered eating behavior.

Methods: The population-based, cross-sectional MOPO study consisted of 2,096 young Finnish men (mean age 17.9, SD 0.7) attending compulsory call-ups for military service in the Oulu area in 2010, 2011, and 2013. They responded to a questionnaire that included two subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory-3 indicating drive for thinness and bulimic behavior and questions on health, physical activity, and motives to exercise. The association between disordered eating behavior and related factors was analyzed by binary logistic regression.

Results: Altogether, 6.9 % (n = 145) of the men had symptoms of disordered eating, i.e., 5.4 % had a drive for thinness (n = 114) and 3.7 % had bulimic behavior (n = 77). Drive for thinness was associated with a perception of being overweight (OR 3.7; 95 % CI 2.2–6.1), poor self-rated health (2.3; 1.2–4.4), more leisure sitting time (1.1; 1.0–1.2), and body-related exercise motives (body acceptance: 3.0; 1.7–5.2; weight loss: 2.5; 1.4–4.4). Bulimic behavior was positively associated with poor self-rated health (2.6; 1.1–5.8) and several motives to exercise, i.e., due to another person’s suggestion (2.8; 1.6–4.8), competitive sports (2.1; 1.2–3.7), body acceptance (2.1; 1.1–3.9), and weight loss (1.9; 1.1–3.3), but inversely associated with health/fitness-related exercise motives (health promotion: 0.3; 0.1–0.5; muscular strength or physical performance: 0.5; 0.2–0.9).

Conclusions: In young men, disordered eating behavior was associated with being overweight, having poor self-rated health, and having a greater amount of leisure sitting time as well as non-health-related motives to exercise. In order to recognize those at risk for disordered eating behavior, evaluating these factors could be beneficial.

see all

Series: BMC public health
ISSN: 1471-2458
ISSN-E: 1471-2458
ISSN-L: 1471-2458
Volume: 16
Article number: 483
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3162-2
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 314 Health sciences
315 Sport and fitness sciences
Funding: This study was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (DNRO 125/627/2009, 98/627/2010, 97/627/2011), Centre for Military Medicine, the European Social Fund, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of North Ostrobothnia Innovation and European Regional Development Funds (70037/2010 and 70035/2011), the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, the Sports Institute Foundation, and the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. They had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data; writing the manuscript; or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Copyright information: © 2016 Nurkkala et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.