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Keywords:

  • Asian Americans;
  • eating disorders;
  • NLAAS (National Latino and Asian American Study)

Abstract

Objective:

Our study examines lifetime and 12-month prevalence estimates of eating disorders in Asian American men and women. We also report on the association between social factors and eating disorders, BMI categories, treatment, and impairment.

Method:

We use data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, a nationally representative survey of the U.S. household population of Latino and Asian Americans. Our present study is based on data from the sample of Asian Americans (N = 2,095).

Results:

Overall, Asian Americans present with low prevalence for eating disorders. Only lifetime prevalence for binge eating disorder (BED) is significantly higher for Asian women compared to Asian men. Our results show that age is strongly associated with BED and any binge eating. High current BMI of 30–39.9 and ≥40 is strongly associated with BED and any binge eating. Treatment utilization is low, and respondents reported some role impairment.

Conclusion:

Our findings show that despite low prevalence estimates, eating disorders are present among Asian American men and women. Our data suggest that researchers consider more flexibility in defining and classifying eating disorders, to better detect and measure the prevalence of eating disorders among Asian Americans. Int J Eat Disord 2007 © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.