The Truth about Eating Disorders

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Black people don’t get eating disorders right? Well that’s simply not the case as Afua Adom discovers.

“I don’t know any black women with eating disorders- they don’t get them. Black women don’t want to starve themselves and get skinny, they want curves in all the right places.” According to the eating disorder charity Beat about 1.6 million people in the UK are suffering from an eating disorder right now. About 1.4 million of these are women and the rest men. Although the statistics for the number of black people were not available, numbers are thought to be rising.

Sara* was 19 and in her second year at university when she developed anorexia. “I had always grown up being pretty comfortable with myself. I loved my first year of Uni and living away from home was amazing. In the second year my course was much harder so I fell behind. I failed my exams in the first semester so when I was studying for retakes I got really strict with myself. I remember drawing up a revision timetable with times to eat and sleep but I stopped taking breaks to eat. I loved the feeling of getting through all that work and undoing the bad I had done. I passed with flying colours but I kept up my studious timetable for the rest of the year.  I loved the control that I now had on my life. I didn’t realise I was ill until I went home and my mum opened the door, stared at me for two minutes before bursting into tears. None of my friends really understand my disease. They don’t think black girls like me develop eating disorders.”

Whether or not you have experienced it, the sad truth is that eating disorders really do exist amongst black women. All we can do is try and maintain a healthy outlook on our body image and ourselves. If you do find yourself or friends suffering from an eating disorder go and see your GP or email for help and information.

Pick up the June issue of Pride to read the full article.


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