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Keywords:

  • Arabs in Israel;
  • disordered eating behavior;
  • adolescents;
  • epidemiology

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the prevalence of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors among three religious subgroups of Arab schoolgirls in Israel (Moslems, Druze, and Christians).

Method:

The sample consisted of 1,131 Arab schoolgirls in Israel, including 922 (81.5%) Moslem, 125 (11.1%) Christian, and 84 (7.4%) Druze adolescents, in the 7–12th grades. The sample was drawn from urban and rural residential settings from all parts of Israel using a clusters sampling method.

Results:

The Christian subgroup had a significantly lower total eating disorder inventory-2 (EDI-2) score than the Druze and Moslem subgroups, which had similar total EDI-2 scores. Significant differences were found between the three religious subgroups in all subscales, except in drive for thinness (DT), bulimia, body dissatisfaction, and asceticism. A total of 154 (13%) Arab schoolgirls scored higher than the cut-off point of ≫14 on the EDI-DT subscale.

Conclusion:

The results are discussed in light of the differences between the Christian, Druze, and Moslem subgroups and in terms of various aspects of Arab culture in Israel. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007