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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • Blacks;
  • prevalence;
  • age of onset;
  • gender differences

Abstract

Objective:

To provide information on the characteristics of eating disorders based on nationally representative samples of African American and Caribbean Black adults and adolescents.

Method:

Conducted between 2001 and 2003 the National Survey of American Life (NSAL) interviewed adults (n = 5,191) and adolescents (n = 1,170) in their homes. Professionally trained interviewers used the WMH Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI-WHO Organization 2004-modified) to assess DSM-IV TR eating disorders.

Results:

Anorexia was the rarest eating disorder among African American adults and adolescents, with age of onset for adults in mid adolescence. No 12-month case of anorexia was found among Caribbean Black adults. Binge eating was the most prevalent eating disorder among adults and adolescents. Persistence of disorders was lowest for anorexia and highest for binge eating disorder among adults.

Conclusion:

Prevalence of eating disorders within the U.S. Black population varies by type of disorder, age cohort, gender, and ethnic group among adults, and by type of disorder among adolescents. Clinicians need preparation and training to recognize and treat eating disorders in ethnically-diverse patient populations. Int J Eat Disord 2007 © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.