Research shows Black, type 2 diabetic women more likely to be affected by eating disorders
PITTSBURGH — We think about food every day: What’s for dinner? Can I afford groceries? Did I eat too much?
People with diabetes are more likely to have an eating disorder and research shows Black women are even more adversely affected.
Channel 11 Morning News Anchor Katherine Amenta found out how culture and stress could play a role in this.
Relationships with food can be tricky, even more so for people with Type 2 diabetes.
“So what we know in the latest research, about 25 to 40% of individuals with Type 2 diabetes might have an eating disorder,” said Dr. Rachel Goode, with UNC Nutrition Research Institute.
Goode is leading the charge to uncover the nuisances of a Type 2 diabetic’s relationship with food.
Data from a support program affiliated with the University of Minnesota’s medical school found the rate of eating disorders in men and women with diabetes is between two to four times higher than the general population.
It’s even higher for Black patients, particularly Black women.
Researchers have found that Black Americans have six times the odds of binge eating.
“Often you get that diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, you’re going to meet with an educator to help you change your diet,” said Goode. “For some, that instruction can be very drastic. That restriction almost makes you want it more.”
It’s the same cycle clinical therapist Dr. Alexis Skelley has seen in her patients with diabetes.
“We overeat, then we get stressed out and we feel guilty. We feel like we failed in some way. So this creates more of this stress, and the brain has this drive to eat more,” explained Skelley.
But why this rate is shockingly higher for Black diabetics is still a big question.
Both doctors we spoke with think culture and stress play the biggest roles.
“The specific stressors that the African American community may experience as opposed to other communities,” said Skelley.
“I think for so long, Black women have had the pressure to be strong, the pressure to take care of everyone else,” Goode added. “We haven’t always been able to or felt like we’ve been able to prioritize our health and take the time.”
Skelley suggests setting small goals as we head into the holiday season filled with food. She says to plan for how to get back on your plan if you slip up, and to have compassion for yourself.
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