Bulimia Affects Black Girls More Than Whites

by VR Sreeraman on  March 21, 2009 at 3:40 PM Research News
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 Bulimia Affects Black Girls More Than Whites
A new study has revealed that black girls are 50 percent more likely than white girls to suffer from the eating disorder bulimia.

The findings of the study led by researchers from University of Southern California, University of Maryland and Universitat de Autonoma Barcelona, Spain, challenge the widespread perception that bulimia primarily affects the privileged.

Asian-African girls, in particular, were found to be suffering the eating disorder.

"As it turns out, we learned something surprising from our data about who bulimia actually affects, not just who is diagnosed," said USC economist Michelle Goeree.

In the study involving 2300 schoolgirls, the findings revealed that black girls were 50 percent more likely than their white counterparts to exhibit bulimic behaviour, including both binging and purging.

About 2.6 percent of black girls were clinically bulimic, compared to 1.7 percent of white girls.

Moreover, girls from families in the lowest income bracket studied were 153 percent more likely to be bulimic than girls from the highest income bracket.

The study also showed that bulimia affected 1.5 percent of girls in households where at least one parent had a college degree.

For girls whose parents had a high school education or less, the rate of bulimia was more than double - 3.3 percent were bulimic.

The study also showed that bulimia affected 1.5 percent of girls in households where at least one parent had a college degree.

For girls whose parents had a high school education or less, the rate of bulimia was more than double - 3.3 percent were bulimic.

According to Goeree, past research has over-relied on hospital admission data, creating a "sample selection bias" that overlooks those who exhibit bulimic behaviour but do not receive - or have the means to receive - professional help.

"One explanation is straightforward: Girls with an eating disorder who are African American or come from low-income families are much less likely to be diagnosed. Who goes to the hospital? Those who have insurance. Who tends to have insurance? Wealthier, better-educated people," Goeree said.

Source: ANI
SRM

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