Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 269–277 | Cite as

Prevalence and selected correlates of eating disorder symptoms among a multiethnic community sample of midlife women

  • Marsha D. Marcus
  • Joyce T. Bromberger
  • Hsiao-Lan Wei
  • Charlotte Brown
  • Howard M. Kravitz


Background: There is little information about the symptoms of disordered eating or their association with psychological and physical parameters in midlife women.Purpose: The aim is to examine (a) the prevalence of binge eating, inappropriate weight control behaviors, and weight and body image concerns among middle-aged community women; (b) whether rates of eating disorder symptoms vary among ethnic groups and are associated with socioeconomic status, weight-related variables, current depressive symptoms or history of major depression, substance abuse or dependence, or childhood abuse; and (c) whether the association between ethnicity and eating disorder symptoms persists after adjustment for covariates.Methods: The sample of 589 pre- and early perimenopausal African American, Hispanic, and White women were participants in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a U.S. multisite longitudinal study of menopause and aging. Women reported information on sociodemographic, symptom, health, psychosocial and lifestyle variables. DSM-IV disorders were determined, physical measures were obtained, and a questionnaire to assess symptoms of eating disorders was completed.Results: Rates of regular binge eating, dissatisfaction with eating patterns, and marked fear of weight gain were 11, 29.3, and 9.2%, respectively. African Americans were more likely than were Whites to report fasting. In multivariable analyses, high body mass index (or waist circumference), depressive symptoms, past depression, and history of childhood/adolescence abuse were significantly associated with the Binge Eating and Preoccupation with Eating, Shape and Weight subscale scores.Conclusions: These data suggest that further examination of the relationship between eating problems and well being in older women is warranted.


Waist Circumference White Woman Eating Disorder Binge Eating Bulimia Nervosa 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marsha D. Marcus
    • 1
  • Joyce T. Bromberger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hsiao-Lan Wei
    • 3
  • Charlotte Brown
    • 1
  • Howard M. Kravitz
    • 4
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Public Health, Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of PittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Graduate School of Public Health, Department of BiostatisticsUniversity of PittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Psychiatry and Preventive MedicineRush University Medical CenterUSA

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