, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 269-277

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

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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.

The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) has grant support from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (Grants NR004061; AG012505, AG012535, AG012531, AG012539, AG012546, AG012553, AG012554, AG012495). University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA-Joyce T Bromberger, PI (R01 MH59689); Rush University, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL-Howard M. Kravitz, PI (R01 MH59770); New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ-Adriana Cordal, PI (R01 MH59688-02).
Clinical Centers: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor — MaryFran Sowers, PI; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston — Robert Neer, PI 1994–1999; Joel Finkelstein, PI 1999-present; Rush University, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago — Lynda Powell, PI; University of California, Davis/Kaiser — Ellen Gold, PI; University of California, Los Angeles — Gail Greendale, PI; University of Medicine and Dentistry — New Jersey Medical School, Newark — Gerson Weiss, PI 1994–2004; Nanette Santoro, PI 2004-present; and the University of Pittsburgh — Karen Matthews, PI.
NIH Program Office: National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD-Marcia Ory 1994–2001; Sherry Sherman 1994-present; National Institute of Nursing Research, Bethesda, MD-Program Officers.
Central Laboratory: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor-Daniel McConnell (Central Ligand Assay Satellite Services).
Coordinating Center: New England Research Institutes, Watertown, MA-Sonja McKinlay, PI 1995–2001; University of Pittsburgh-Kim Sutton-Tyrrell, PI 2001-present.
Steering Committee: Chris Gallagher, Chair; Susan Johnson, Chair