I returned from my vacation to read Nancy's blog on the Los Angeles's based the psychiatrist who sees very little anorexia among lower socioeconomic class Latino and black patients. I am researcher at heart so I took a quick look at the studies on the relationship of ethnicity and culture to eating disorders. Here is my summary of the scientific literature:
1. Eating disordered behaviors in community studies were found to be equally prevalent in Latino, blacks and whites.
2. Latinos and blacks are more likely to suffer from bulimia than anorexia than whites do.
3. Ethnic families are less likely to be knowledgeable about eating disorders.
4. Compared to whites, Latino and black patients with eating disorders are more likely to be evaluated by general practitioners than by mental health providers leading to "under-detection."
5. High levels of acculturation to Anglo American culture increases risk for eating disorders and also the likelihood of getting treatment.