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Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2014 Nov;27(6):436-42. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000100.

Cultural trends and eating disorders.

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aDepartment of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons bDepartment of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA cParnassia Psychiatric Institute, The Hague dDepartment of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands eDepartment of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA.



Culture has long been recognized as significant to the cause and expression of eating disorders. We reviewed the recent literature about recent trends in the occurrence of eating disorders in different cultures.


While historically, eating disorders were conceptualized as primarily afflicting Caucasian adolescent or young adult women within high-income, industrialized Western Europe and North America, eating disorders are increasingly documented in diverse countries and cultures worldwide. This study highlights recent trends that reflect the changing landscape of culture and eating disorders: stabilization of the incidence of anorexia nervosa and possibly lower incidence rates of bulimia nervosa in Caucasian North American and Northern European groups; increasing rates of eating disorders in Asia; increasing rates of eating disorders in the Arab region; and increasing rates of binge eating and bulimia nervosa in Hispanic and Black American minority groups in North America.


The changing face of eating disorders calls for a new conceptualization of culture in both the emergence and spread of eating disorders across the globe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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