Cultural correlates of eating attitudes: A comparison between native-born and immigrant university students in Israel

Liron Greenberg, Julie Cwikel, Julia Mirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Cultural transition
  • EAT-26 scale
  • Eating attitudes
  • Immigration
  • Russian-speaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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