Problematic eating and weight control behaviors among Native Americans : a meta-analytic review

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


A ubiquitous clinical stereotype has conventionally associated eating pathology with White, upper-class girls and women. However, recent studies suggest that problem eating behavior and use of unhealthy weight control techniques span many ethnic and socioeconomic groups. High rates of obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes suggest that unhealthy eating behaviors may be a particularly serious problem among Native American youth and adults. This meta-analytic review of studies reporting the prevalence of specific eating practices among Native American participants reveals that on average, 18% of Native Americans report engaging in pathologic eating and weight control behaviors. Additionally, nearly half of Native Americans report body dissatisfaction, while 10% report chronic dieting, despite normal body mass index. Finally, compared to their White counterparts, Native Americans are significantly more likely to report body dissatisfaction, pathologic weight control methods, as well as binge eating. Study limitations and future considerations are discussed.




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