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Binge Eating in Non-Western Cultures Essays

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Literature regarding eating disorders in non-Western cultures in general is scarce. Very few studies address disordered eating in cultures outside of the Western and Westernized world. This could be because of the perceived lack of eating disorders in non-industrialized countries or even because there is an overwhelming amount of concern over eating disorders in Western society. However, there have been several studies done on binge eating and dietary restraint in non-western citizens and in non-Caucasian women in the United States. Women who are not from a Caucasian background face different societal and traditional pressures than do Caucasian women in Western cultures, but some of the women in those cultures were found to have binge eating disorders as well as negative body images. These women may exhibit eating disorders for the same reasons women in western cultures do, such as extreme concern over shape and weight, low self-esteem, and emotional disorders (Becker, 2003, 425). Through acculturation to Western ideals and exposure to Western norms, they may have developed a “Western” perspective of body image. However, they may also face pressures based on their own cultures' traditions such as feasting, idealizing more robust women, and using meals as their primary means of socialization (Becker, 2003, 430). The few existing studies on this subject seem to agree that a fusion of the two factors determines the appearance of binge eating and dietary restraint in non-Caucasian females.
Binge eating has recently entered the eating disorder scene as a correlate to dietary restraint. It has been less recognized than anorexia and bulimia, but has been showing up and is being studied in developing countries. Binge eating has ...


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... (Eating Disorders Review, 2007, 5). They are therefore the least likely to seek help for their binge-eating disorders. Healthcare providers should take ethnicity into account when determining causal factors of binge-eating in women from Asian and Native American cultures because they are more sensitive about it than women of other ethnicities (Eating Disorders Review, 2007, 5).
From this information it is clear that more research should be done on eating disorders in non-Western societies because women in those cultures do, in fact, suffer from poor body image and low self-esteem. Special focus could be placed on binge-eating in cultures where overeating is a natural part of life and overweight women are viewed as attractive. It is in these cultures that women feel torn between their traditions and the Westernized perception of beauty they are experience more.


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