Disordered eating behaviors and experiences of violence among Mexican youth with different sexual orientations: A population-based study

Luis Ortiz-Hernández, Jesús Abrahán Ruiz Rosas, Carolina Ayala-Hilario

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17711/10.17711/SM.0185-3325.2021.016


Introduction. In high-income countries, sexual minorities are at a higher risk for disordered eating behaviors. It is not known whether these findings can be extrapolated to Mexico.

Objective. Determine whether there are any differences in disordered eating behaviors among Mexican youth according to sexual orientation and analyze the potential role of experiences of violence and discrimination as mediators of these differences.

Method. Data from a representative sample of Mexican youth (12 to 29 years old, n = 27,876) were analyzed. Three groups were identified: young people who were not in love (NIL), who were in love with people of the opposite sex (ILOS), or in love with people of the same sex (ILSS). Restrictive behaviors, secret eating, and self-induced vomiting were identified through a scale created for the survey.

Results. ILSS men had a higher risk of restrictive thoughts and behaviors (B = .31), secret eating (OR = 2.21), and self-induced vomiting (OR = 3.65) than ILOS youth. Among women, there was only a difference in self-induced vomiting (RM = 2.49). In both sexes, being a young ILSS had an indirect effect on restrictive behaviors through its association with experiences of violence, discrimination at school, and sexual violence.

Discussion and conclusion. Mexican sexual minority men are at a higher risk of disordered eating behaviors, whereas sexual minority women are at a higher risk of purging. Part of the differences in restrictive behaviors were explained by the increased risk for experiences of prejudice faced by sexual minority youth.


Sexual orientation; eating and food ingestion disorders; inequities; discrimination; violence; gender

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