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Review
. 2008 Dec;13(4):e75-8.
doi: 10.1007/BF03327508.

Is There Evidence That Religion Is a Risk Factor for Eating Disorders?

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Review

Is There Evidence That Religion Is a Risk Factor for Eating Disorders?

N K Abraham et al. Eat Weight Disord. .

Abstract

Objective: Is there evidence that religion is a risk factor for eating disorders?

Methods: A literature search was performed to examine whether there is an association between religion and eating disorders.

Results: There were some cross-sectional studies, case studies, and anthropological commentaries reporting eating disorders in various cultures and religions. Religious affiliation was usually reported as an incidental finding but not analyzed. A number of prevalence studies were reported from Islamic communities. This raises the possibility that young Muslim women have a higher prevalence of elevated EAT scores compared to non-Islamic women.

Conclusion: This literature search raises the possibility that there is an association between Islamic affiliation and positive screening for eating disorder behaviors. This supports the hypothesis that the effect of culture on eating disorders may be religious as well as secular. Carefully designed studies of the prevalence of eating disorders in multicultural populations with multiple religious affiliations may help further clarify the relationship between religion and eating disorders.

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