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Transcult Psychiatry. 2003 Sep;40(3):409-28.

Prevalence of bulimic behaviours and eating attitudes in schoolgirls from Trinidad and Barbados.

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Health Services Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.


We investigated eating attitudes and the prevalence of bulimic disorders in a group of 362 schoolgirls from the islands of Trinidad and Barbados using key questions from the Bulimia Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE) and additional questions for the exploration of eating attitudes and dieting practices. A random sample of 92 girls were interviewed using the DSM-III-R Bulimia Diagnostic Interview. Only three subjects (0.8%) scored over the cut-off point on the BITE. None of the interviewees was diagnosed as having bulimia nervosa. Two hundred and forty-five girls (67.7%) reported being terrified of becoming fat and fat-fear was associated with higher Body Mass Index, dieting and exercising for losing weight. Girls of African origin were found to have a more unusual eating pattern and more concerns about their eating habits. The prevalence of bulimic disorders in Caribbean schoolgirls is still very low, but they are a population at increasing risk since they share the western ideals of slimness and engage in dieting behaviours.

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