Comparative prevalence, correlates of impairment, and service utilization for eating disorders across US ethnic groups: Implications for reducing ethnic disparities in health care access for eating disorders

Int J Eat Disord. 2011 Jul;44(5):412-20. doi: 10.1002/eat.20787. Epub 2010 Jul 27.


Objective: The study compared the prevalence, correlates of functional impairment, and service utilization for eating disorders across Latinos, Asians, and African Americans living in the United States to non-Latino Whites.

Method: Pooled data from the NIMH Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiological Studies (CPES;NIMH, 2007) were used.

Results: The prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) and binge-eating disorder (BED) were similar across all groups examined, but bulimia nervosa (BN) was more prevalent among Latinos and African Americans than non-Latino Whites. Despite similar prevalence of BED among ethnic groups examined, lifetime prevalence of any binge eating (ABE) was greater among each of the ethnic minority groups in comparison to non-Latino Whites. Lifetime prevalence of mental health service utilization was lower among ethnic minority groups studied than for non-Latino Whites for respondents with a lifetime history of any eating disorder.

Discussion: These findings suggest the need for clinician training and health policy interventions to achieve optimal and equitable care for eating disorders across all ethnic groups in the United States.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology