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Int J Eat Disord. 2000 Apr;27(3):317-27.

Disordered eating in three communities of China: a comparative study of female high school students in hong kong, Shenzhen, and rural hunan.

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Department of Psychiatry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.



To examine disordered eating and its psychological correlates among female high school students in three Chinese communities that lay on a gradient of socioeconomic development in China.


796 Chinese students from Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and rural Hunan completed a demographic and weight data sheet, the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), a Body Dissatisfaction Scale (BDS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES).


Compared to students in Hunan and to a lesser extent students in Shenzhen, students from Hong Kong were slimmer, but desired a lower body mass index (BMI), reported more body dissatisfaction, exhibited a more typical EAT-26 factor structure, scored higher on the "fat concern and dieting" factor, and constituted more EAT-26 high scorers. Multiple regression analyses indicated that BDS was the most significant predictor of fat concern at each site, but this effect was strongest in Hong Kong. Hunan students had significantly higher BDI scores but lower fat concern than Shenzhen and Hong Kong students.


The consistent gradient of fat concern across the three communities gives credence to the view that societal modernization fosters disordered eating in women, possibly via the gendered social constraints that accompany it. It is also expressive of the marked socioeconomic heterogeneity within China nowadays. The predictable rising rate of eating disorders that follows global change will pose a growing public health challenge to Asian countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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