Afro-American Women and Eating Disorders
Much of the research suggests that even though African-American women are heavier than white women – 49 percent of black females are overweight as opposed to 33 percent of white females – they are less likely to have disordered eating (or suffer from specific eating disorders) than white women are.
In addition, African-American women are generally more satisfied with their bodies and body shape, basing their definition of attractiveness on more than simply body size. Instead, they tend to include other factors such as how a woman dresses, carries, and grooms herself. Some have considered this broader definition of beauty and greater body satisfaction at heavier weights a potential protection against eating disorders.
In fact, some studies conducted in the early 1990’s indicate that African-American women exhibit less restrictive eating patterns, and that, at least among those who are college students, are less likely than white women to engage in bulimic behaviors.
SOURCE: www.pbs.org 2000