As students flood back to university and college campuses, schools are warning youth about the dangers of excessive drinking.

But there is a new warning on campus about drinking and eating, or not eating so one can drink.

“Drunkorexia” is one of the issues highlighted in a report this week about binge drinking and occurs when students - typically young women - don’t eat so they can save their calories for alcohol.

“I’ve definitely known some people who do that and like, they’ll just be like ‘oh, I’m not gonna eat too much tonight because I’m gonna go hard,’” says student Emma Chaisson.

Some students say the idea of drinking on an empty stomach can also be appealing to those short on cash.  

“They do it to save money too,” says student Michelle MacGillivray. “If you don’t eat, then you can get drunk off less alcohol, so it’s not healthy for your body, but a lot of students do that.”

Drunkorexia is a new phenomenon highlighted by Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, in a report on binge drinking released yesterday.

“If it allows women to become intoxicated either faster, or in smaller amounts of alcohol, being intoxicated puts them at risk,” he says. “But I think it’s, you know, all tied up with eating disorders.”

Strang says that while the term drunkorexia is relatively new, the idea behind it isn’t. He says it’s part of the culture that exists around drinking and body image.

“It’s concerning from both those aspects and I would certainly label it as a high-risk behaviour from both those perspectives,” he says.

Student Suneetra Karamsingh echoes that sentiment.

“I know of girls who have done that, yes, because they hear the stereotype about coming to university and getting the beer belly and stuff,” says Karamsingh.

Strang says it’s unclear how big of an issue drunkorexia is, but he says 50 per cent of university students admit to binge drinking.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell