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Orlando psychologist on why Blacks, Hispanics are at higher risk of developing eating disorders

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Obi Onyeador
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In this interview, Dr. Gayle Brooks, clinical director for The Renfrew Center, discusses triggers and stigmas involved in receiving treatment.

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, an outpatient facility specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. She has worked with people suffering with eating disorders for more than 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.

Among the 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.”

Click on Listen above to hear the interview.

Danielle Prieur