Eating disorder symptoms in a cohort of 11 to 16-year-old black and white girls: the NHLBI growth and health study

Int J Eat Disord. 2000 Jan;27(1):49-66. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(200001)27:1<49::aid-eat6>;2-e.


Objective: This study sought to provide reference data for the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) with use of young adolescent black and white girls. Moreover, the study examined the relationship between race, age, socioeconomic status, and adiposity and each of the eight EDI scales.

Method: To achieve these aims, data were used that had been collected in Years 3, 5, and 7 as part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study, a longitudinal cohort study of risk factors for obesity in black and white girls. For the present report, data were available from 2,228 girls in Year 3, 2,056 girls in Year 5, and 1,902 girls in Year 7.

Results: EDI scores were found to vary by race, age, socioeonomic status, and body weight of respondents. Black girls scored different from white girls on all EDI subscales. Scores on all but two subscales (Body Dissatisfaction, Drive for Thinness) decreased significantly with increasing age. Significant inverse associations were found between maximum parental education and all EDI subscales except Body Dissatisfaction and Perfectionism. Elevated body weight was associated significantly with Body Dissatisfaction, Drive for Thinness, Bulimia, Interoceptive Awareness, and Ineffectiveness.

Discussion: Our results illustrate the importance of taking into consideration the potentially confounding role of demographic characteristics and body weight when comparing different race or ethnic groups on the EDI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / ethnology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Image
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Bulimia / ethnology
  • Bulimia / psychology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / psychology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*