Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-17-03

Eating Disorders Rising Among Hispanic Women

Once thought to be a disease affecting only white females, eating disorders are breaking racial barriers, a new study finds. Research by Catherine Shisslak, a professor at University of Arizona College of Medicine, shows eating disorders are on the rise among Hispanic women. "A growing body of research indicates that minority females exhibit many of the same abnormal eating behaviors as white females," Shisslak reported.

Examining eating and dieting patterns among Hispanic, white, and African-American girls in grades 4 through 12, "A Longitudinal Analysis of Patterns of Disordered Eating Among Adolescent Girls from Three Ethnic Groups" found that not only did tenth grade Hispanic girls display signs of eating disorders at the same rate of their peers, but Hispanic girls reported more weight loss attempts than their other racial counterparts as early as seventh grade.

Many experts blame the growing prevalence of eating disorders among Hispanic women on the media's continued obsession with ultra-thiness. The average child in the US watches over 21 hours of TV each week, not counting exposure to other forms of media, according to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED). Even as Latin culture gains wider representation in mainstream media, the preference among many Hispanic societies for a larger body type (viewed as a sign of health and wealth) is quickly being replaced by slender stars like Jennifer Lopez and Penelope Cruz..

According to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, studies show that Hispanic girls are also at a higher risk than white girls for depression, and their loss of self-esteem as they enter adolescence is more acute than many of their other-ethnic peers. Hispanic girls, like African-Americans, may also have a harder time fitting the American body ideal because on average they have higher body mass indexes (girls ages 5-17) than white and Asian girls. Latina girls are particularly susceptible to two types of eating disorders: dieting and purging. Awareness is the first step, say some experts, because many Hispanics still do not recognize the disease as one faced by their community.

DONATE Contribute to the Feminist Majority Foundation!

Media Resources: ANRED 4/2003; University of Arizona 5/7/03; AP 6/4/03; HHS Office on Women's Health: Latina Girls Eating Disorders Information Sheet, undated


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/27/2015 Los Angeles Mayor Announces Model Gender Equity Directive - On Women's Equality Day Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, signed a progressive and inclusive executive directive to take a major step toward gender equity for the city and to be a model for other cities. . . .
 
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections. This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .
 
8/25/2015 Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage - Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms. The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action. . . .