Jewish Orthodox Female Eating Disorder Risk

Studies have established that Jewish orthodox women and girls are often at higher risk for developing disordered eating pathology and/or a clinically diagnosed eating disorder than their secular counterparts.

  • In 2004, Rayworth et al. determined that Jewish women are more than two times as likely to meet the criteria for eating disorders as those of other religious backgrounds.
  • Then, in a study conducted in 2008 by Pinhas, Jewish adolescent girls were found to be at higher risk for eating disorders as well as to have higher disordered eating levels than their non-Jewish peers.
  • In 2012, Feinson and Meir discovered women from all walks of Jewish observance to be at higher risk for eating disorders than those from other cultures.
  • And finally, in a study conducted of Jewish women from 2016 by Feinson and Hornick-Lurie, over 33% of participants responded that body shape and size does indeed influence how they feel about themselves.

These are significant and alarming statistics, warranting our attention. These studies support the critical need for prevention programs developed based on the unique conditions and circumstances of Jewish orthodox females. This will increase both the efficacy and long-term success of the programs as well as ensuring a larger, more extensive reach.

Citations available upon request

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