itudes (Szmulker, McCance, McCrone, & Hunter, 1986).


itudes in IsraeliSubpopulations and Hospitalized AnorecticsIn the article “Cultural Effects on Eating Attitudes in IsraeliSubpopulations and Hospitalized Anorectics (Apter Et Al, 1994), the authorsintroduce to us their thesis: due to the clashing values between the westernideology of the teenage feminine body and the traditional Israeli subpopulationviews, there is an increasing amount of anorexia nervosa proportionate to theseverity of the western influence. To test their hypothesis, Apter surveyedadolescent Israeli girls in 10 subpopulations of Israeli culture. Throughoutthe rest of the article, Apter goes on to prove their thesis by illustrating tous the method they instantiated as well as the results they attained fromconducting the survey.Apter explains to us that anorexia nervosa is a severe eating disorderthat affects mostly upper & middle class teenage girls in the western world.

This disease is both physically and psychologically damaging to these girls.For these girls, thinness and self-appearance is what they revolve their livesaround. Studies conclude that people in professions where physical appearanceis of extreme importance are more likely to develop an eating disorder. In theWestern world, over the past two decades eating disorders have increasedsubstantially. People believe that this increase in eating disorders is due tothe fashion industry. The fashionable female figure of today has become thinnerand more tubular (Szmulker, McCance, McCrone, & Hunter, 1986).In the world today, Apter believes that thinness is more and more asymbol of the feminine ideal.

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He finds that the Western role of a woman is nowbeginning to include success in the work force, sexually attractive as well asthe traditional roles as nurturant wives and mothers. Apter hypothesizes thatthis added stress of Western ideology combined with the non-Western ethnicorigin of these adolescents could create complications such that the attitudestowards food will begin to resemble that of anorectics. In contrast, Apter alsohypothesizes that adolescents of non-Western ethnic origin less exposed toWestern ideology would have less of a chance of attaining an eating disorder.Using a selected group of hospitalized anorectics as a control, they testedtheir hypothesis by surveying 783 adolescent girls in 10 Israeli subpopulationsas well as a group of hospitalized anorectics.

The first test conducted in the survey was the shortened form of theEating Attitude Test known as the EAT-26. This test was administered by schoolnurses and is proven to detect instances and levels of eating disorders. Thedetermining factor in this test, as stated by Apter, “was the oral controlfactor – an indicator of impulsivity and presumable of sexuality.” The secondtest conducted, was a 17-question survey that dealt with the way they subjectsviewed their body. As indicated by the control group, the higher the scores onthe tests, the more likely the subjects have an eating disorder.In the results of the survey, Apter et Al found that the Kibbutzresembled the scores closest to that of the anorectics; however, the oralcontrol factor score was lower than expected. Apter defends this by attributingit to their “communal dining rooms.” Because of the low Western influence inthe Muslim culture, the prediction that they would have a lower score on thesurvey was false.

They scored low in the body image pathology and high on thedieting factor. Apter stays with his hypothesis by indicating that “the Muslimgroup has the highest average weight (53.8 kg), so that their concern withdieting may reveal a desire to lose weight rather than insidious ‘slendernessculture.” They also state that their findings do require further investigation;however, they feel that the Muslims are not at risk for eating disorders.From these results, Apter et Al concludes his thesis that: due to theclashing values between the western ideology of the teenage feminine body andthe traditional Israeli subpopulation views, there is an increasing amount ofanorexia nervosa proportionate to the severity of the western influence.I feel that Apter et Al did not successfully incorporate all aspectswhen trying to prove their hypothesis. I say this because they only took intoaccount the aspects of anorexia nervosa in each subculture.

They did not takeinto account the amount of Western influence in each subculture. To make theproof of their hypothesis more complete, Apter et Al should have conducted somesort of test or survey that would tell how much Western influence was present ineach subculture.If Apter et Al would have taken

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