From Frugivore — If the story were left up to the Internet and pop culture, Black men and eating disorders are virtually nonexistent. While there are reports that claim eating disorders are less frequent in the Black American population, the usage of psychiatric services by the Black American community, and particularly Black men, is far less frequent than other racial demographics. Thus, many Black men’s eating disorders go unrecorded and unrecognized, but indeed, these diseases do not discriminate by racial lines.
Dr. Divya Kakaiya is a licensed psychologist that’s been treating eating disorders since 1985. In 2008, she was featured on NPR host Farai Chideya’s “News and Notes” to discuss Black Americans and eating disorders. When prompted by Chideya to discuss Black American men’s relationship to eating disorders, Kakaiya reflects upon her work and pop culture observations, stating, “Women of color, men of color, it’s the same. You know, I was looking at some magazines a couple days ago and just looking at the oppression that men are starting to feel that women have felt for the last three or four decades in terms of only one particular body size is acceptable size, and with men too now they’re getting more and more messages that that six-pack has to be equated with sexual virility. And so even in my clinic now I’m starting to see more and more young men and men that come forward to seek help because actually the word is getting out there that this is not just a woman’s disease, and it’s not only a white woman’s disease; it’s a disease that affects all, across all socio-cultural lines and across all ethnic lines.”