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Eat Behav. 2002 Summer;3(2):143-51.

Racial/ethnic differences in body image and eating behaviors.

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1
Department of Medicine, New York Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University-College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10025, USA. marci513@aol.com

Abstract

There is a growing literature on the relationship between race/ethnicity and body image and eating disorders, but the conclusions are still unclear. We therefore examined racial/ethnic influences on body image and eating behaviors in 108 Caucasian, 46 African American, and 40 Asian female undergraduates. Participants completed the Figure Rating Scale (FRS) and the Eating Habits Questionnaire (EHQ) to assess body image and eating pathology. Caucasians had greater body discrepancy (difference between current and ideal) than Asians (P=.05) and higher EHQ scores (P<.0001) than both Asians and African Americans. African Americans chose a larger ideal body size than the other groups (P=.005). However, Asian women had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than both groups (P<.0001). After controlling for BMI, ideal body size differences were minimized (P=.08). Also, now, both Caucasians and Asians had greater body discrepancy (P<.0001) and EHQ scores (P<.0001) than African Americans. Our findings help reconcile inconsistencies in the literature by demonstrating the impact of controlling for BMI when comparing body image and eating behaviors in individuals from different racial/ethnic backgrounds.

PMID:
15001011
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