Research & Resources

Differences Between Preemptive and Non-Preemptive Physical Activity Among ‘Drunkorexia’-Positive College Students

“Drunkorexia,” characterized by compensating for alcohol-related calories using physical activity (PA), is common on college campuses. In this study, first-year college students living on campus completed an online survey collecting drunkorexia, PA, and alcohol consumption data, with 127 participants reporting engaging in drunkorexia behaviors. Of the participants, 53 were classified as preemptively physically active (e.g., engaging in PA and drinking on a Tuesday), compared to 74 who were classified as non-preemptively physically active. Preemptively physically active participants consumed more alcohol on Fridays and Saturdays than those who were non-preemptively physically active. Preemptively physically active participants engaged in significantly greater amounts of PA. Females accounted for all significant differences between groups. Among drunkorexia-positive participants, many made preemptive efforts to control their calories before consuming alcohol, which may predispose them to higher incidences of adverse outcomes such as alcohol poisoning, unwanted sexual advances, and death.

This paper, “Differences between preemptive and non-preemptive physical activity among ‘drunkorexia’-positive college students,” was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) and published in the Journal of American college health.

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