Food had become my drug.” Thus writes Stephanie Covington Armstrong, a bulimia survivor—and black woman. Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders are not limited to wealthy white women trying desperately to achieve a bone-thin summer body. In fact the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) reports that black women are actually 50% more likely than white women to show signs of bulimia (“Statistics & Research on Eating Disorders”). But black eating disorder patients are often undiagnosed and under researched. Many black women have attested that their symptoms were not taken seriously by medical professionals, and even official research papers and medical reports claim a low prevalence of disordered eating among black women. However, black women are indeed suffering from disordered eating. The question is why? Despite common perceived correlations between eating disorders and body image, eating disorders among black women have more to do with self-harm and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Williams, Olivia J., "Sustenance Abuse: Anorexia, Bulimia, and & Black Women" (2019). Dean James E. McLeod Freshman Writing Prize. 8.