Eating Disorders

The cultural imperative to align ourselves with a certain body type and shape deeply affects us by as early as six years old. Many of us develop eating disorders in an attempt to attain that ideal, though disordered eating habits can develop for complex emotional reasons that have little to do with weight, such as a desire for control. While eating disorders are frequently discussed as a “women’s issue,” they affect all genders (in fact, subclinical disordered eating habits, such as binge eating and purging, are nearly as common among men as women). Eating disorders are often a hidden illness; it’s impossible to tell if someone has one just by appearance or physical fitness, and since they frequently carry great burdens of shame, sufferers usually hide their behaviors and carefully mask their symptoms. Even when we’re aware that someone around us has an eating disorder, we’re often unsure about how to support their needs without enabling their disordered behavior. Eating disorders can have serious physical consequences and typically require medical and psychological treatment.

If you or someone you know is in immediate need of support, please seek professional help. If you are in crisis, here are some immediate free resources.

Black Women Suffer from Eating Disorders, Too

"The assumption that eating disorders primarily affect young, affluent white women was based on research that was conducted on young, affluent white women."

Minority Women: The Untold Story

"I think about food constantly. I am always trying to control the calories and fat I eat, but so often I end up overeating. Then I feel guilty and vomit or take laxatives so I won't gain weight.

Anorexia and Bulimia Are Black Women’s Diseases, Too

In 2007, I joined an online community called ANA―a cute and cuddly name for people with anorexia nervosa, the world’s deadliest mental illness.

Eating Disorder Treatment May Be Failing Black Women

New research sheds light on bias in research and treatment.


The information offered here is not a substitute for professional advice. Please proceed with care and caution.