Cultural correlates of eating attitudes: a comparison between native-born and immigrant university students in Israel. Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: This study explores the association between gender and exposure to Western culture and attitudes toward eating. Method: Four hundred and ninety-nine university students participated in the study: 216 Israeli natives, 153 new immigrants (3 years or less since immigration) from the Former Soviet Union (FSU), and 130 veteran immigrants from FSU (4–15 years since immigration). Attitudes toward eating were measured using the Eating Attitude Test – EAT-26. Results: Israeli born women had higher weight and body mass index (BMI) than did new immigrant women. Higher scores on the EAT-26 were found among women than among men. Among women only, native-born Israelis and veteran immigrants were more likely to have positive EAT-26 scores (19.6%, 18.8%) than were new immigrant women (7.9%), indicating disordered eating attitudes. Part of the differences in EAT-26 scores was explained by differences between the groups on age and BMI; however, even after adjustment the differences remained significant on the bulimia subscale. Conclusion: The results suggest a rapid cultural effect in attitudes toward eating that may reflect a tendency toward eating disorders as well as a difference in the proportion of obesity. It seems that the veteran immigrants have adopted Western cultural norms and eating patterns in a way that has erased the differences in tendency toward eating disorders between them and the Israeli born women. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006

publication date

  • January 1, 2007