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Keywords:

  • latino;
  • eating disorder;
  • culture;
  • mental health;
  • severity;
  • ethnic minority;
  • psychiatric illness

Abstract

Objective:

To present national estimates and correlates of lifetime and 12-month DSM-IV eating disorders for Latinos.

Method:

Data come from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS), a national epidemiological household survey of Latinos in the United States.

Results:

Latinos have elevated rates of any binge eating and binge eating disorder but low prevalence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The US born and those living a greater percentage of their lifetime in the US evidenced higher risk for certain eating disorders while severe obesity and low levels of education were significant correlates. Rates of treatment utilization were exceedingly low.

Conclusion:

Standard eating disorder criteria may not be appropriate for understanding psychological morbidity of eating disorders for Latinos, particularly less acculturated Latinos, due to cultural differences in the presentation of eating disorder symptoms. Criteria for disturbed eating patterns that are more reflective of the illness experience of Latinos should be developed. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.