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Letter to the editor

Editor, – Dr Phillipa Hay's excellent article on eating disorders (Aust Prescr 1998;21:100-3) states that anorexia nervosa 'occurs world wide'. Is there any evidence that these disorders also occur in under-privileged populations such as those in Africa, for example, or in those cultures where the body weight of women and dieting are not a big issue.

Mannasseh Phiri
General Practitioner
Kitwe, Zambia


Author's comments

Dr P. Hay, the author of the article, comments:

Dr Phiri has raised an important issue. Eating disorders do occur world wide, but they are much more prevalent in Western cultures. Elegant studies in the U.K. and Pakistan,1 as well as other empirical research, attest to this.

Mannasseh Phiri

General Practitioner, Kitwe, Zambia

Phillipa J. Hay

Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide