University of Minnesota Research Finds Eating Disorders Affect Women in All Socioeconomic Groups

Dr. Neumark-Sztainer

Many people have the impression that eating disorders mainly affect White girls and women from middle and high-income families. But new research from scholars at the University of Minnesota finds that binge eating and use of unhealthy weight control behaviors are prevalent among young people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

The study examined data from young people taking part in the Project EAT 2010-2018 study. Project EAT is a long-running study that tracks the general health and well-being of adolescents as they age into adulthood. It is lead by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota and senior author of the study.

“Our study found that high body dissatisfaction and some disordered eating behaviors are more prevalent among young people from low socioeconomic status backgrounds,” said lead author Nicole Larson, a researcher at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

Among females, high body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight control behaviors, such as skipping meals were more prevalent and regular use of lifestyle weight management behaviors such as exercise were less prevalent among those in the low SES group when compared to the middle and/or upper SES groups.

“There is a need to increase the reach and relevance of efforts to prevent body dissatisfaction and disordered eating to ensure efforts benefit young people across SES groups,” said Dr. Larson.

The full study, “Body Dissatisfaction And Disordered Eating Are Prevalent Problems Among U.S. Young People From Diverse Socioeconomic Backgrounds,” was published in the journal Eating Disorders. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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