Eating disorders are often considered as diseases that only affect young white and affluent women.
The truth is quite different, as many studies have shown.
Eating disorders affect everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation, socio-economic status.
In 2018, a study conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the Reasons Eating Disorder Center showed that eating disorders were over-represented among gay youth. Of the 1,034 people who participated in the study, aged 13 to 24 years old and all identifying themselves as belonging to the LGBTQ community, 54% had been diagnosed with an eating disorder, and an additional 21% thought they were affected although they had not been formally diagnosed.
In parallel, several studies have shown a high prevalence of these disorders among ethnic minorities:
- In the United States, black adolescents are reported to be 50% more likely than white adolescents to experience binge eating behavior (Goeree, Sovinsky, & Iorio, 2011),
- In a study, researchers found that teenagers from Hispanic communities were significantly more likely to suffer from bulimia nervosa than their non-Hispanic peers.
- The researchers also reported a trend towards a higher prevalence of binge eating disorders in all minority groups. (Swanson, 2011).
Other findings are alarming: people of colour who express concern about their diet and weight are much less likely to be asked by a doctor about symptoms related to eating behaviours (Becker, 2003).
Perceptions about the typical profile of people affected by eating disorders have real consequences.
Already, when we respond to the “stereotype” of the person who is likely to suffer from anorexia, bulimia or hyperphagia, the diagnosis is difficult, the care paths are often tedious and it is estimated that only 50% of people will access an adapted care protocol allowing them to treat themselves.
When you belong to a minority, whether ethnic, social or sexual, the path to access appropriate care is all the more complicated: a taboo that slows down the demand for care and increases the mechanisms of denial, medical deserts, costs of access to care that are too high.
At FeelEat, we are very sensitive to sharing experiences because we are convinced
- that it is by sharing our experiences with other people who are fighting that everyone can move forward and advance mentalities,
- that it is by reading the true stories of the members of our community, that patients and loved ones can understand that they are not alone in dealing with the disease,
- that it is by discovering the experiences and recovery journey of those who are fighting that everyone will eventually find its own path to recovery.
Do you want to share your story with the community ? Please, contact us !