Eating Disorders Among Asian-Americans the Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

(Hall, C.C. 1995).

This fact is proven by studies of Asian women outside the United States. For instance, studies in Korea and China point out that a high rate of eating disorder cases are being recorded in these countries as a direct result of economic change and the influence of Western culture. (Park, E. 2000) in Japan as many as 1 in 500 women have shown signs of an eating disorder.

3.2. Marginalization and Stereotypes

The fact that Asian-American constitutes a marginal population group within the Unities States also place psychological and cultural strain on their

Marginalization... 11 sense of identity. This is worsened by the fact that in some instances prejudice and discrimination can create feelings of low self-esteem and lead to symptoms of eating disorders. "... It has been suggested that the pressures of discrimination, trying to blend into Western society, and certain stereotypes compound the problem for Asian-Americans.' (Park E, 200) central problem that is often the cause of eating disorders in general, is the projection, through the media, of the stereotypical view of the ideal body shape. Comparison with this ideal in the media tends to create a feeling of inferiority and this can lead to an eating disorder. This is compounded when the male or female belongs to group which is already prejudiced against in terms of stereotypes. The following view from an interview by Park illustrates this point with regard to Asian-American women. "Karen says, 'When people looked at me, they always said five words I hated: 'Big for an Asian girl.' What does that mean anyway? At 5'3" and 115 pounds, I was considered normal among American girls, but when someone thrust me among Asians, I became suddenly obese.' " (ibid) This pressure to conform to stereotypes is intense and can result in serious eating disorder problems such as Anorexia Nervosa. "Researchers have posited that if, or when, persons of different racial groups internalize the Caucasian norms ofthinness as the ideal, then greater degrees of disordered eating and Marginalization... 12 body dissatisfaction emerge. (Pate, Pumariega, Hester, & Garner, 1992)." (Grey, J. 2000)

The following quotation summarizes the view that people in a new society have, such as Asian-Americans, and their attempt to conform to stereotypical views and attitudes in an effort to be accepted by the dominant culture.

If people of ethnically diverse backgrounds are constantly bombarded by images of thin women who are portrayed as beautiful and desirable in the media, they may begin to internalize these images, especially if they want to "fit in" with the dominant White culture. The internalization of the thin-is-beautiful ideology may lead some ethnically-diverse women to become dissatisfied with their own bodies and to have lower self-esteem. Some of these women may engage in behaviors that are associated with eating disorders in order to force their bodies to conform to the rarely-attainable ideal physique. (Bowden, H. 2003)

There are also a number of studies which outline the various problems that woman of color experience within American society. This reflects on the dilemma of Asian-American women. These include issues of self-esteem - often resulting

Marginalization... 13 from acculturation pressures. Psychological pressure which may manifest as eating disorder problems can result from the "...silencing aspects of one's cultural self-expression in order to fit in and function effectively within the white culture." (Brooks Gayle E. 2003)

3.3. Role models

Role models portrayed in the media also have an impact of the perceptions of young Asians. Many researchers point out that one of the central causes of eating disorders in this group is the attempt to emulate role models presented by the dominant culture.

A today's younger generation of Asian-Americans is losing weight in an effort to adopt Western standards of the slim, toned professional career woman, an image that has replaced the Rubenesque beauty ideal of the past. Indeed, almost all prominent Asian-American women in the media are bone thin, including celebrities like Lucy Liu, Kelly Hu, Lisa Ling, and China Chow to name a few." (Park E. 2000)

The role models provided by film and other media encourage young Asian's to emulate their body image, which can result in various eating disorders. Poran also emphasizes the point than women often attempt to emulate images that are Conclusion

Conclusion...14 often unrealistic and which can result in a sense of failure and loss of self-esteem. "Women are judged by more exacting physical and sexual standards even though these standards are often based on images that are airbrushed, changed by computer, or trimmed with scissors." (Poran, 2002)

4. Conclusion

The problem of eating disorders manifests itself mainly in Asian-American females. The central cause for the relatively high incidence of eating disorders among this group is cultural adoption and acculturation in a society which has very definite ideals and ideas of the ideal female body image. There are also many other factors which contribute to the high incidence among Asian-Americans. These include factors such as marginalization and stereotyping.

However, one of the most worrying aspects of the situation is the relatively small amount of research that has been undertaken on this topic. The fact that insufficient research has been done in this area is reiterated by a number of researcher and experts.


In the area of body image research, the variations among women's experiences with the body and body representations, as they are affected by racial identity, have not been adequately investigated. Few researchers have even explored Women of Color and their experiences with the dominant beauty standard (Poran, 2002)

This finding is a matter for concern and further quantitative research is necessary to more fully understand the extent of the problem.



5. Bibliography

Brooks Gayle E. (2003) Invisible Sufferers: Eating Disorders Among Women of Color. Accessed on March 2, 2005 from Congressional Briefing: American Realities: The Changing Face of Eating Disorders Speeches. Web site:

Brown, Lora Beth (2002) the relationship between reading beauty and fashion magazines and the use of pathogenic dieting methods among adolescent females. Adolescence, March 22,

Bowden, H. (2003) EATING DISORDERS in MULTICULTURAL POPULATIONS. Retrieved March 4, 2005. Web site:

GRAY, JAMES. (2000) the Eating Disorders Inventory Among Asian-American College Women. The Journal of Social Psychology, August 1.


Hall, C.C. (1995). Asian eyes: Body image and eating disorders of Asian and Asian-American women. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 3(1), pp. 8-18.

Harrison, Kristen (1997)

Does interpersonal attraction to thin media personalities Promote eating disorders? Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, September 22, 1997.

Media Not Totally to Blame.(women's magazines' role in eating disorders, USA Today (Magazine), December 1, 2000.

Nhan Truong. Ethnicity, acculturation, and the psychological health consequences of immigrant groups Retrieved March 3, 2005 from the City University of New York. Web site:


Pate, J.E., Pumariega, a.J., Hester, C., & Garner, D.M. (1992). Cross-cultural patterns in eating disorders: A review. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 802-809.

Park E, (2000) Starving in Silence: Eating and body image disorders plague young Asian and Asian-American women. Retrieved march 3, 2005 from Asian Week. Web site:

Poran, M.A. (2002). Denying Diversity: Perceptions of Beauty and Social Comparison Processes among Latina, Black, and White Women. 65+. Retrieved March 5, 2005, from Questia database,

Robinson, T.N., Killen, J.D., Litt, I.F., Hammer, L.D., Wilson, D.M., Haydel, K.F., Hayward, C., & Taylor, C.B. (1996). Ethnicity and body dissatisfaction: Are Hispanic and Asian girls at increased risk for eating disorders? Journal of Adolescent Health, 19, pp. 384-393.

Rowan, P. (2004) Introducing Anorexia Nervosa. Accessed March 3, 2005 from the Priority Hospital. Web site:


Smolak, Linda, Michael P. Levine, and Ruth Striegel-Moore, eds. (1996). The Developmental Psychopathology of Eating Disorders Implications for Research, Prevention, and Treatment. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Story, M., French, S.A., Resnick, M., & Blum, R.W. (1995). Ethnic/racial differences in dieting behaviors and body image perceptions in adolescents. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 18(2), 173-179.

Vaughan, Kimberley K., and Gregory T. Fouts. (2003) Changes in…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Eating Disorders Among Asian-Americans The" (2005, March 05) Retrieved December 7, 2016, from

"Eating Disorders Among Asian-Americans The" 05 March 2005. Web.7 December. 2016. <>

"Eating Disorders Among Asian-Americans The", 05 March 2005, Accessed.7 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Eating Disorder and Gender

    Eating Disorders and Gender There are medical conditions which more commonly occur in one gender over another. These conditions can be either mental or physical. Very often, they are both mental and physical conditions. Certain medical situations are extremely severe and can potentially result in serious harm to the body or perhaps even death. There are certain conditions which being with a mental impression, a false belief that has been ingrained

  • Eating Disorder Is Characterized by Abnormal Eating

    Eating disorder is characterized by abnormal eating habits involving excessive or insufficient intake of food which is detrimental to the individual's physical and mental well-being. There are two common types of eating disorders although there are other types of eating disorders. The first is bulimia nervosa which is excessive eating coupled with frequent vomiting. The second type is anorexia nervosa which is immoderate restriction of food which leads to irrational

  • Depression and Eating Disorders the Eating Disorder

    Depression and Eating Disorders The eating disorder category in the DSM-IV includes Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and the Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified categories. Peck and Lightsey (2008) note that while the DSM classification symptom is currently the most used system, there has been some debate in the about how to classify people with eating disordered behavior. A viable alternative to the discrete categories used in the DSM is notion of

  • Overeating Poor Eating Behavior

    Alcoholism researchers developed this model. The model presumes that a consumer is in one phase of change at any given time. This model entails Maintenance, action, maintenance, preparation or pre-contemplation (Patrick 189). The concept is that consumers have to shift from one stage to the next. The stages prepare them to move to the next ones sequentially. This suggests that if consumers hurry through or if they skip stages

  • Why Do Japanese Live Longer Than Americans

    Japanese Live Longer than Americans? One of the greatest markers for the achievement of "civilization" in any culture is longevity, a mark of the proof of the health and wellness of a country or a group of people. (Hopper, 1999, p. 443) With this mark comes a responsibility, for both the individual and the culture as a whole. With regard to longevity the world recognizes that of many, industrialized nations

  • Cultural Beliefs and Dietary Habits of Rural African Americans With...

    African-Americans in Louisiana & Type 2 Diabetes Rates The poor will be always with us, we are biblically admonished. And for Americans we might add to this ancient maxim that the African-American poor will be always with us. Despite the many gains that they have made in the past 30 years African-Americans remain far more likely to be poor than are white Americans. This has a number of different consequences for

  • Dually Diagnosed African American and Latino

    (1999) which are: 1) Those with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder with major depression and who use alcohol and drugs to self-mediate to cope with the symptoms; and 2) Those with borderline personality and anti-social personality disorders including anxiety disorder that is complicated by use of alcohol and illicit drugs. (Mather et al. 1999) Presenting further difficulty is the establishment of problems with alcohol and illicit drug use

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved