Culture/Race-related EDs - Asian focus (add to memories)
I live in a very multicultural city just outside of Toronto; specifically, I share my community with a large amount of middle-class, Middle Eastern people. I have been noticing that a large number of teenage Middle Eastern girls are getting skinnier and skinnier, looking practically emaciated. I never saw this before, and so I wondered what could be triggering this?
1. Could it be religious? Some people might practise Buddhism and their diets may be vegan or pure, for example. Yoga is another factor to look at.
2. Could it be cultural? Are these girls becoming white-washed easily, or is it something else? What about the roles of men, fashion, or Bollywood?
3. Could it be an issue of self-esteem? Self-esteem is a huge factor in any eating disorder, but what is causing this low self-esteem?
Here are some random facts which may have answered some of my own questions, but I'd like to hear personal experiences from non-white girls or boys, or people who have grown up in non-Western countries.
A recent study of early adolescent girls found that Hispanic and Asian-American girls showed greater body dissatisfaction than white girls (Robinson et al., 1996).
Traditionally, eating disorders have been associated with Caucasian upper-socioeconomic groups, with a "conspicuous absence of Negro patients" (Bruch, 1966).
In non-Western cultures where plumpness is considered attractive, or even prosperous and fertile, eating disorders are found much less commonly than in Western nations. However, in recent years, cases have been identified in nonindustrialized or premodern populations (Ritenbaugh et al., 1992).
In Hong Kong and India, one of the fundamental characteristics of anorexia nervosa is lacking. In these countries, anorexia is not accompanied by a "fear of fatness" or a desire to be thin; instead, anorexic individuals in these countries have been reported to be motivated by the desire to fast for religious purposes or by eccentric nutritional ideas.
No culture appears immune to the possibility of eating disorders. Research seems to point toward more incidences of eating disorders in westernized societies as well as societies experiencing enormous changes.
Clinicians sometimes fail to diagnose women of color appropriately. This may be due to the fact that eating disorders have been reported much less among African Americans, Asian Americans and American Indians.
Information on Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and other minorities with eating disorders remains scant, and more research is urgently needed
Regardless of her race, a daughter's behavior is influenced by her mother's attitudes about weight, sex, and emotional intimacy with a man. Other motherly influences include: -Daughter's Relationships With Other Women -Mother's Self-Reliance and Assertiveness -Mother's Mental Health and Marital Status -The Father-Daughter Relationship -Racial Attitudes Towards Therapy
The idea of eating disorders as a "white girls disease" still influences many health care workers.
The one thing that appears to be a required factor for the development of an eating disorder is low self-esteem. This trait runs across culture.