The stereotypical perception of eating disorders is that they are more likely to affect middle-class white girls. However, a ten-year survey of more than 2,300 girls in schools in California, Ohio and Washington D.C. has found that this might not be the case after all. The study found that black girls were 50% more likely than white girls to exhibit bulimic behaviour. About 2.6% of black girls were clinically bulimic compared to 1.7% of white girls. On the scale designed to assess bulimia symptoms black girls scored an average of 17 points higher. Girls from families in the lowest income bracket were significantly more likely to experience bulimia than girls from wealthier backgrounds. Bulimia affected 1.5% of girls in households where at least one parent had a college degree but 3.3% of girls whose parents had a high-school degree or less. The authors of the study thought that girls from less well-off backgrounds were less likely to have medical insurance and be diagnosed with bulimia, meaning they were under-represented by previous studies.
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