This paper presents recent research on ethnic and cultural differences and similarities in disordered eating in diverse groups of women. Eating disorders present a significant problem among adolescent and young women in many Westernized countries and are associated with numerous physical and psychiatric problems. A common misconception has been that eating disorders are a disease of middle- or upper-class White females. However, a growing body of literature asserts that girls and women from ethnic minority populations are not immune to developing eating disorder symptoms or syndromes, although there are indications that prevalence estimates vary depending on the particular eating disorder symptom or syndrome under investigation and depending on the population being studied. Studies provide an initial indication that cultural factors may play a role in the etiology of eating disorders. We first review what currently is known about eating disturbances among diverse groups of women and then present research examining the role of culture and ethnicity in the detection and treatment of eating disorders. We conclude with a summary of avenues for future research and intervention.
Keywords: Eating disorder, ethnicity, culture, disordered eating, treatment
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