Talk to someone now. Call our National Helpline on 1800 33 4673. You can also chat online or email

Talk to someone now. Call our National Helpline on 1800 33 4673. You can also chat online or email

People from multicultural communities

Get help in your language

If English is not your first language, we can still help.
To access our Helpline call 131 450 to speak through an interpreter.

Eating disorders and body image issues can affect anyone at any time — and from any culture or background.

Being treated unfairly because of your culture or religion, adjusting to a new culture, or wanting to live your life in ways that are not acceptable to your culture of birth can impact your mental health. Different cultures also have different traditions and rituals around food, as well as different body ideals. All these pressures can be extremely stressful and increase your risk of developing a body image issue or eating disorder.

We’re so influenced by Western beauty. And there are lot of body image issues in non-Western countries. People like me, growing up, have been told that having Western features is the ideal way to look and live your life. We need to show people that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”  -Butterfly focus group participant

There is far from enough research on the subject of multicultural groups, body image issues and eating disorders, but some researchers are beginning the process of learning more.

Key facts

  • The clash between a person’s traditional culture and adopted culture can increase their risk for body dissatisfaction or an eating disorder
  • Prolonged exposure to Western ideals of shape and size can lead to low self-esteem and increased risk of developing an eating disorder
  • As Western values become more culturally dominant, eating disorders are rising within non-Western cultural groups
  • The stress of migration and trying to fit in to a new host culture can contribute to the development of disordered eating
  • Cultural and political refugees experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder are at risk of developing an eating disorder

 

  • Amharic,
    የአመጋገብ ችግር ምንድ ነው?
  • Arabic,
    ما هو اضطراب الأكل؟
  • Assyrian,
    ܡܘܿܕܝܼ ܝܠܹܗ ܚܲܕ ܒܘܼܠܒܵܠܵܐ ܕܐ݇ܟ݂ܵܠܬܵܐ؟
  • Simplified Chinese,
    什么是进食障碍?
  • Croatian,
    Što je poremećaj prehrane?
  • Dari,
    اختلال در خوردن چیست؟
  • Dinka,
    Yeŋö yenë tuaany ye raan cɔk cäm arëët ka bï mïïth ya cäny yiic?
  • Farsi,
    اختلال خوردن چیست؟
  • Greek,
    Τι είναι η διατροφική διαταραχή;
  • Italian,
    Cos’è un disturbo alimentare?
  • Khmer,
    តើជំងឺពាក់ព័ន្ធនឹងការបរិភោគជាអ្វី?
  • Korean,
    식이장애란?
  • Krio,
    Wetin nae di eat disorder so?
  • Macedonian,
    Што е пореметување во исхраната?
  • Polish,
    Czym są zaburzenia odżywiania?
  • Russian,
    Что такое расстройство пищевого поведения?
  • Serbian,
    Шта је поремећај исхране?
  • Spanish,
    ¿Qué es un trastorno alimentario?
  • Traditional Chinese,
    什麽是進食障礙?
  • Turkish,
    Yeme bozukluğu nedir?
  • Vietnamese,
    Rối loạn ăn uống là gì?

Health Translations, through The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, also offers free translations of mental health information in more than 100 languages.

There is never one single risk factor for an eating disorder. More likely the illness is due to combination of causes – discrimination and racism being among them. Read more about risks and warning signs.

At Butterfly we support all Australians with lived experience of a body image issue or eating disorder. We are committed to reducing stigma around eating disorders and encouraging everyone who is impacted to seek help and support.

We also understand that stereotypes about who experiences eating disorders are unhelpful. We’re committed to changing the public’s perceptions.

If English is not your first language, we can still help.

To access our Helpline call 131 450 to speak through an interpreter.

Let’s Talk

Talking helps. Our free and confidential Helpline team support anyone in Australia affected by an eating disorder or body image issues.

Whether you need support for yourself or someone you care about, call our confidential Helpline team on 1800 33 4673, chat online or email.

Need an interpreter? Call 131 450.

BUTTERFLY HELPLINE

Additional support

The Embrace Project is run by Mental Health Australia and provides a national focus on mental health for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Health Translations, through The Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, offers free translations of mental health information in more than 100 languages.