Race & Ethnicity
Relatively little research has been done on eating disorders and body image disturbance in ethnic and cultural minority groups — attributed to the long-standing myth that these issues affect only White women. Many studies lump a variety of non-White ethnic/cultural groups into one category and obscure ethnic group differences.
- Non-White women and girls are “insulated” against unhealthy body image and eating disorders due to non-White cultures valuing different body types that are more attainable for women
- Other studies have found that as non-White groups are acculturated into mainstream U.S. culture, non-White groups’ risks for ED and BI dissatisfaction look similar to the majority population
- All ethnic groups are eventually exposed to the far-reaching, mainstream media thin-ideal and unrealistic standards of beauty
- The Minnesota Adolescent Health Study found that dieting was associated with weight dissatisfaction, perceived overweight, and low body pride in all ethnic groups
- The chronic stress of trying to assimilate into a dominant culture while being devalued by the dominant culture, make ethnic minorities vulnerable to eating disorders