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

5/27/2015 California Passes Reproductive FACT Act - The California State Assembly passed the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act yesterday. AB 775, or the FACT Act, passed 48-25 in a vote, and requires that unlicensed facilities in California that provide pregnancy-related services disclose that they are not licensed medical providers. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage - Over the weekend, the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to pass a national referendum legalizing same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through popular vote on Friday. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Maryland Governor Will Not Veto LGBT Rights Bills - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced that he will not veto two pieces of legislation protecting LGBT rights passed by the state legislature in March, meaning they will soon become law. The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 743 / HB 862 and SB 416 / HB 838 by wide margins and with bipartisan support on March 24, after which both were sent to the Governor's desk. . . .