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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557

Abstract

SAMPEI, Míriam A. et al. Eating attitudes and body image in ethnic Japanese and Caucasian adolescent girls in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2009, vol.85, n.2, pp. 122-128. ISSN 0021-7557.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572009000200007.

OBJECTIVE: Despite investigations into the rapid increase in eating disorders across diverse ethnic groups, conclusions concerning ethnicity and eating disorders are contradictory. The objective of the present study was to investigate eating attitudes in ethnic Japanese and Caucasian adolescents in Brazil. The influence of body mass index (BMI), menarche and social-affective relationships on the development of eating disorders was also assessed. METHODS: Questionnaires evaluating the incidence of eating disorders and the influence of social-affective relationships were applied to 544 Japanese-Brazilian and Caucasian adolescent girls: 10 to 11-year-old Japanese-Brazilian (n = 122) and Caucasian (n = 176) pre-menarcheal adolescents, and 16 to 17-year-old Japanese-Brazilian (n = 71) and Caucasian (n = 175) post-menarcheal adolescents. RESULTS: Caucasian girls obtained higher scores on the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), showed greater body image dissatisfaction, dieted more often and had more diet models introduced by their mothers and peers than the Japanese-Brazilian girls. CONCLUSION: The Caucasian adolescents overall appeared to be more sensitive to aesthetic and social pressures regarding body image than the Japanese adolescents. The high incidence of EAT-26 scores above 20 in the Caucasian pre-menarcheal group indicates that individual body image concerns are developing at an earlier age. Multiple logistic regression revealed several associations between mother-teen interactions and the development of abnormal eating attitudes.

Keywords : Japanese-Americans; eating disorders; body image; body mass index; adolescence.

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