‘They’re not even being screened:’ doctor warns about the danger of overlooking eating disorders for people of color
Eating disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, and upwards of 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder over the course of their lives. They are one of the deadliest mental illnesses; about 26% of people diagnosed attempt suicide.
But these statistics may be largely understated.
The lack of proactive detection and treatment has left many struggling behind closed doors—largely because of harmful stereotypes about what it looks like to contend with an eating disorder.
“It’s always a thin, white, middle-class, upper-class woman,” Gloria Lucas, who leads a support group for people of color battling eating disorders, puts it in a PBS article, outlining the generally accepted rhetoric.
Research shows BIPOC individuals are less likely to be asked about eating disorder symptoms.
“The stereotypes have for so long perpetuated and continue to perpetuate that disparity and also the under-identification and treatment of eating disorders in the BIPOC communities,” Dr. Toya Roberson-Moore, a psychiatrist and associate medical director with the Eating Recovery Center, tells Fortune.