Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Bulimia nervosa in Latina and women of color communities


In what is considered by some to be a toxic American culture, is a possible explanation behind the high rates of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric or mental disorders plaguing Americans today. (1) Women, unsurprisingly, lead the rates in clinical depression, not exactly a shock in a society where both media and consumerism flood the mind and promote overall life dissatisfaction within ourselves and our immediate environments. (1) As primary targets of the media, women are left susceptible to the many fashions which come and go through mainstream culture, including the timeless desire to be, literally, ¡°thin as a rail.¡± (2) In fact, an American public health researcher from Rutgers University, by the name of William Vega, studied the effects of American culture upon recent, Mexican immigrants. (1) The new wave of immigrants were not only a healthier bunch in comparison to their American peers, but reportedly became sicker, as longtime residents of the United States. (1) This idea of blending in or intermixing with other cultures, better known as acculturation , reportedly has led Latinas and other women of color to experience the same dissatisfaction concerning body image as young, Anglo women. (3) In the past, minority groups, specifically Latinas and African American women, were known to have low cases of eating disorders due to the pride these women perceivably possessed for their often, larger figures. (2) In reality, however, eating disorders, specifically bulimia nervosa, are not narrowed to one culture as commonly believed.(4) Instead, Latinas and women of color remain largely excluded from most studies involving eating disorders among women. (4)


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This site was created by Cecilia Ortiz in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2004.