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Listen in: Black, Hispanic people have a higher risk of developing eating disorders. An Orlando psychologist explores the reasons why.

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Black and Hispanic teens are more likely to have bulimia or to binge-eat compared with their white peers according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Dr. Gayle Brooks is the clinical director for The Renfrew Center in Orlando, where she’s worked with people with eating disorders for over 25 years. 

WMFE spoke with Brooks about why people of color have eating disorders at higher rates and what’s keeping them from getting treatment.


Interview highlights

On the problem with diagnosis

“Because eating disorders are oftentimes associated with low weight, or perhaps, people that are not in larger bodies, they miss the fact that someone can be struggling from an eating disorder, no matter what their body size is.”

On the triggers that cause these disorders

“You know, it’s only been recently that we really studied that, the thought was that, it’s really about just how you look and wanting to diet and whatnot. But actually, there is a component sometimes of not having access to food.”

On treating different patient populations

“What you see a little bit differently in people of color is this role and impact of stigma, this sense of somehow feeling shamed, you know, dealing with microaggressions each and every day and how that may impact their coping style.”

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »