Asian-Americans and Eating Disorders

Asian-Americans and Eating DisordersAccording to the National Institutes of Health, eating disorders are one of the most lethal psychiatric illnesses, and they affect millions of people worldwide. The most common characteristics of people suffering with an eating disorder include the following examples:

  • Middle class
  • Caucasian
  • Adolescent
  • Females

However, Asian-American girls and women have a similar prevalence of eating disorders and their symptoms, especially body dissatisfaction. Get help today to overcome this dangerous problem.

Information about Eating Disorders

The two most common eating disorders are as follows:

  • Anorexia (anorexia nervosa), also referred to as the “starving disease” because a person literally starves himself to maintain an unrealistic and unhealthy body image
  • Bulimia (bulimia nervosa), also referred to as “binge and purge,” because a person eats excessively (binge) and then rids himself (purge) of what he consumed

The primary cause of eating disorders is that people believe that they are not good enough, but many people with an eating disorder have the following factors:

  • Genetics – People whose parents or siblings have an eating disorder seem more vulnerable to these psychological issues
  • Emotions – People who suffer with an eating disorder often have a low self-esteem, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and often expect perfection in themselves and others
  • Culture – Many cultures promote thinness, especially to teenagers to do what it takes to get and stay beautiful

These factors apply to millions of people, predominantly women, throughout the world.

How Eating Disorders Affects Asian-Americans

In a 1995 article in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, author Christine C. Iijima Hall claims that “attractiveness and beauty have been found to be the most important factors in prompting relationships and interactions, and for making social judgments. Standards of beauty in America, however, are primarily based on Caucasian-European-American ideals. People furthest from this ideal, specifically women of color, may suffer the psychological effects of low self-esteem, poor body image, and eating disorders.” She further claims that research on body image and eating disorders has been exclusively conducted on white women. However, her strongest claim is that Asian and Asian-American women are victims of the “double jeopardy” of racism and sexism. In research conducted at Palo AltoUniversity, findings showed that few Asian-Americans utilize the mental health system, and that cultural factors appear to influence this pattern.

Help for Asian-Americans with Eating Disorders

The sooner you get help for an eating disorder, the greater the likelihood is for recovery. However, people often think there is a stigma associated with an eating disorder, so they avoid discussing it with other people. To be assured of confidentiality and to receive answers to your questions, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime. We want to help you find the right treatment program for eating disorders, and our counselors can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources.