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Can J Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;53(9):601-8.

Disordered eating in Jewish adolescent girls.

Author information

  • 1Eating Disorder Program, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario. leora.pinhas@sickkids.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the presence and nature of disordered eating attitudes and behaviours among Jewish Canadian adolescents, as compared with non-Jewish Canadian adolescents in an urban community. A secondary goal was to examine whether rates of eating-disordered behaviour differed among the adolescents based on the degree of Jewish religious observance.

METHOD:

High school students (n = 868) from the Toronto area completed a demographic and religious practice questionnaire together with the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT), a self-report test that discriminated adolescents with syndromal eating disorders from normal adolescents.

RESULTS:

Jewish females aged 13 to 20 years, but not males, reported significantly more disordered eating behaviours and attitudes, compared with their non-Jewish female counterparts. Twenty-five percent of Jewish females, as compared with 18% of non-Jewish females, scored above the clinical cut-off for the EAT. No differences in vulnerability to disordered eating were found within the group of Jewish females or males related to their degree of religious observance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescent Jewish females, but not males, appear to be at greater risk for abnormal attitudes and behaviours related to eating, compared with their non-Jewish female peers. While the reasons for this finding are unclear, this study is a step toward improving understanding of the relations between sex, culture, religion, and the development of eating disorders. Culturally sensitive and sex-specific prevention strategies and treatment interventions are indicated.

PMID:
18801223
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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