Scientists in Connecticut performed one of the first psychological studies into eating disorders among Native American populations, according to a press release posted on EurekAlert.org. Published in The International Journal of Eating Disorders, the research reveals Native American women were more likely to report behavioral symptoms of eating disorders, "revealing that regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality, research consistently shows that women are more vulnerable to developing disordered eating behaviors or full syndrome eating disorders than men."
The study also connected similar tendencies of Native American women and ethnically white women regarding binge eating and purging.
The team reached the conclusion that there is no significant difference in behavioral symptoms related to eating disorders between Native American men and ethnically white men, "again demonstrating how the affects of eating disorders are not restricted by racial groups."
The team studied data by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on 236 women and 253 men of either Native American or Inuit heritage, out of a total 10,000 men and women. The average age was 22.
The release states further research will be conducted. "In the eating disorder field, this type of epidemiological study has lagged behind other research, but now we have a foundation to study the distribution of eating disorders and identify psychological risk factors in Native American populations," said Professor Ruth Striegel-Moore of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and leader of the study.