Hamid Saeed, Afifa Shafqat, Nimra Hameed, Amna Latif
|University College of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan|
Published: 12 December 2022
Anxiety and depression are common worldwide and often occur together. Anxiety can alter appetite, causing women to consume more food than usual, leading to changes in eating behavior and obesity. This comparative cross-sectional study compared the severity of depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders among working and nonworking women visiting community pharmacies. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with 244 working women and 267 nonworking women. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and a chi-square test was conducted to evaluate differences in the severity of depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders between the two groups of participants. Most participants were literate; approximately half of the working (50.82%) and nonworking women (55.06%) had a normal body mass index. There were significant differences between the working and nonworking women in terms of their education and physical activity levels (p < 0.05). Both groups were identified as being at risk of developing bulimia, but their ability to control eating habits differed significantly (p = 0.008). Most participants reported never using laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics to control their weight. Moreover, they reported that they had never received treatment for eating disorders or experienced thoughts of suicide. The study found no significant difference in depression (p = 0.085) and anxiety levels (p = 0.207) between working and nonworking women. However, a significant difference was found in stress levels between working and nonworking women (p = 0.001). Our study highlights a significant prevalence of psychological issues among working and nonworking women in Pakistan, impacting their eating habits and contributing to developing eating disorders and obesity. Interestingly, working women display higher physical activity levels, while nonworking women demonstrate better oral control to prevent eating disorders. To improve women's mental and physical well-being, we recommend prioritizing mental health interventions for all women, promoting healthy eating habits, supporting physical activity, and investigating underlying factors influencing psychological well-being.
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