Systematic Review

An Umbrella Review and a Meta-analysis of Metaanalyses of Disordered Eating Among Medical Students


Department of Psychiatry, Governmental Hospitals, Manama, Bahrain


Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain


High Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Sfax, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia


Research Laboratory: Education, Motricity, Sport and Health, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia


Department of Nutrition and Food Science, The University of Jordan, Agriculture School, Amman, Jordan


Division of Research and Development, Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, India


Saveetha Medical College and Hospitals, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Saveetha University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India


Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada

Alpha Psychiatry 2024; 25: 165-174
DOI: 10.5152/alphapsychiatry.2024.241515
Read: 580 Downloads: 354 Published: 24 April 2024

Objective: To prevent eating disorders in future physicians, this umbrella review and meta-analysis of previous meta-analyses estimates the prevalence of disordered eating (DE) among medical students worldwide and identifies key risk factors.

Methods: Four databases were searched electronically between their inception and February 1, 2023. The search was later updated to December 31, 2023.

Results: The search yielded prevalence rates for medical students who scored above established cutoffs on validated assessment measures for DE. These were computed to provide an overall pooled estimate. The data was taken from 2 previous reviews. Both these systematic reviews found a 15.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 14.7%-15.6%) prevalence rate of DE among medical students. The equivalent Hedges’ G=0.30 (95% CI: 0.29-0.31), the equivalent odds ratio=1.74 (95% CI: 1.71-1.77), I 2=97.6%, and the excess of statistical significance is P=.001. The trim and fill adjusted effect size was 16.0% (95% CI: 14.0%-20.0%).

Conclusion: Because eating disorders put students’ safety and well-being at risk and because the health of early-stage physicians is vital to the welfare of a country, early signs of disordered eating must become a priority of medical schools and a signal for effective prevention and intervention. The recommendation is to ensure supportive environments, provide easy access to effective care, and hold clear expectations for student eating behavior.

Cite this article as: Jahrami H, Saif Z, Trabelsi K, Ghazzawi H, Pandi-Perumal SR, Seeman MV. An umbrella review and a meta-analysis of meta-analyses of disordered eating among medical students. Alpha Psychiatry. 2024;25(2):165-174.

EISSN 2757-8038