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The Acculturation and Eating Disorders in Western Countries

There is no doubt that the problem of eating disorders has become worldwide. No matter whether the true problem of the disorder is psychological or physiological, disorders obviously threaten the lives of the people who happen to have them. Because of the increase in immigration from non-Western countries into the Western world, there are considerable reasons to suspect that the problem of eating disorders among immigrants is likely to increase. Therefore, further in-depth research on the issue has to be conducted. The given review of the existing articles on the issue of eating disorders summarizes the results of the existing researches and offers probable solutions to the above-mentioned problem. Once the causes of disorders are outlined and the existing measures are observed, one can possibly offer a solution for the problem. Since the issue has not been yet fully explored, peculiar solutions can possibly be discovered.

There have been a number of sources found in the existing databases. To start with, the following databases have been studied: Pubmed (10 articles found); Wiley and sons (5 articles found); Medline (8 articles found); NPG (Nature Publishing Group) (1 article found); Informa Healthcare (1 article found); PsyInfo (1 article found). All in all, twenty-eight articles related to the topic have been found. In the course of the search, the following keywords have been used: “immigration and acculturation,” (6135 results total), “eating disorders,” “immigration and eating disorders” (48740 results total), “acculturation and eating disorders” (776 results total), “western culture and immigrants” (38975 results total), “western culture and immigrants and acculturation” (4009 results total), “western culture and immigrants and eating disorders” (1058 results total).

However, some of the articles did not fit the review criteria and had to be excluded. It was important that the found researches should be focused on the issue in question, i.e., the problems of acculturation in Western countries and the eating disorders triggered by these problems. Hence, the research material was narrowed down to 25 articles. The exclusion criterion was whether the relation between eating disorders and acculturation was established in the article. Hence, 95659 results were excluded from the research.

As for the conceptual organization of the paper, it is necessary to mention that the given articles are going to be organized according to the study types. At present, the articles are split into the following categories: cross-sectional studies and longitudinal studies. Further on, the articles in each group are going to be analyzed.

Finally, there is a necessity to touch upon the results of the research briefly. To start with, it is obvious that research on people’s organism and psychic setup and the way they work, i.e., in the given case, the specifics of food processing and the fears within, which lead to either excessive or insufficient food consumption, has to be somewhat generic. Like any other research embracing human physiology and psychology, it has to have limitations, since it is impossible to consider every single specific case of an eating disorder. Nevertheless, the given research offers rather graphic results. To sum up, it has been discovered that the increase in weight gain is related to age: according to Bridjleved, Stelling-Boelen and Wiegersma, “Differences in macronutrient intake according to the children’s origin were especially prominent in the eldest age groups” (104). Moreover, of all immigrants, Asian Americans seem to voice most concerns about their bodily proportions; for instance, “many Australian women exhibit concern, even distress, in relation to their body weight and size, and women who have recently migrated to Australia also report being conscious of this preoccupation with thinness and of the role played by western media in promoting thinness” (Mussap 532). One of the most important factors, the impact of western values on the immigrants, provides a sufficient basis for further research.


Bridjleved, Ank, Annette Stelling-Boelen and Hendrik Wiegersma. ” Dietary Intake in Asylum Seeker Children in The Netherlands, Strongly Related to Age and Origin.” European Journal of Critical Nutrition. 61.7 (2007): 104. NPG. Web.

Mussap, Alexander J. “Acculturation, Body Image, and Eating Behaviours in Muslim-Australian Women.” Health & Place. 15.2 (2009): 532-539. Pubmed. Web.