From East to West : An exploratory cross cultural comparison of night eating syndrome and related eating pathology in Mainland China and the USA
Cooper, Barbara Ellen
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The current study investigates the prevalence rate of Night Eating Syndrome (NES) in mainland China. Although some research has investigated the prevalence and characteristics of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in China, virtually no research has been carried out on NES in the indigenous Chinese population. Thus, the primary goal of the current study was to examine NES prevalence and characteristics in China and to compare these prevalence rates and characteristics to published prevalence rates for the USA and also to a sample of college students in the USA. NES has also been linked to various other characteristics of eating pathology so the current study examined these facets as they have received inadequate attention in mainland China. Participants completed survey packets that contained the following measures: Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ), Night Eating History and Inventory (NEHI), Eating and Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2), and the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). NES prevalence in the Chinese sample was found to be greater than rates for the US and for other countries. However, the NEQ may not be a valid measure for NES screening in the Chinese population. Seven of the 21 participants scoring above the NEQ cut-off, indicating likely cases of clinically diagnosable NES, also met the criteria for anorexia nervosa and one met the criteria for bulimia nervosa. Prevalence of other eating pathological symptomatology in the Chinese sample, such as anorexia nervosa, was also higher than reported rates for American Caucasians. With adjusted body mass index (BMI) norms for China, prevalence of obesity in the Chinese sample was much lower than the rates reported for Americans even though the Chinese participants overall reported consuming foods at a much greater frequency per week.