Body Image, Eating, and Weight. Some Cultural Differences

  • Carla Gramaglia
  • Claudia Delicato
  • Patrizia ZeppegnoEmail author


Sociocultural models influence body image construct, which may change from one cultural context to another. Acculturation, enculturation, and socioeconomic status have a strong effect on weight status and body size perception. Body image literature reviews have revealed significant ethnic differences. Research consistently supports a negative impact of thinness pressures on body image, but few studies have examined ethnic differences in thinness pressures from distinct sociocultural influences. Compared to White and Hispanic women, Black ones show lower levels of media appearance and thinness pressures. Hispanic and Black women usually show less anti-fat attitudes than White ones. Japanese women’s “ideal” body mass index and body shape are, respectively, lower and thinner than that of American women, and this likely depends on traditional issues as well as on the western thin ideal. Indian women with eating disorders may not show the typical signs of western clinical samples, including body image disturbances and fear of fatness. The ideals of beauty may change because of immigration, eventually leading immigrant women to body and weight dissatisfaction and pursuit of the thinness ideal. Last, little is known about ethnic differences in men’s body image and drive for muscularity. An ethno-culturally informed perspective is essential to plan culturally adapted strategies for body image disorders.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Gramaglia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claudia Delicato
    • 3
  • Patrizia Zeppegno
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Translational Medicine, Psychiatry InstituteUniversità del Piemonte OrientaleNovaraItaly
  2. 2.SC Psichiatria—AOU Maggiore della Carità di NovaraNovaraItaly
  3. 3.Department of Translational Medicine, Psychiatry InstituteUniversità del Piemonte OrientaleNovaraItaly

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