Accepting Our Bodies…Accepting Ourselves: A Focus on Developing an Awareness of Black Women and Eating Issues

Author name
Mazella Fuller, PhD., MSW, LCSW, CEDS, Integrative Health Coach


I am aware that I am the only one responsible for what has and will happen in my life. It is empowering to know I am in full control of my destiny. –Carol Joy

Black Women at Duke! Are you managing your stress well…to avoid the risk of developing eating issues? I am a CAPS clinician and have been working with women of color struggling with eating issues for over 20 years. The issues of perfectionism and always feeling that you need to be in control are the same for all women and especially Duke women.  Duke women are leaders and strive for excellence and perfection in all endeavors, which can make some women at Duke vulnerable to eating problems.

National Eating Disorders Awareness week is February 23-March 1, 2014. The goal is to promote  public and media attention to the seriousness of eating problems and improve education about the biological underpinnings, environmental triggers, warning signs and how to help individuals struggling with eating issues.  It is important to include Black Women and other women of color in our outreach efforts as culturally competent, mental health providers, health educators, dietitians  and medical providers.

Most college age women struggle with identity development, issues of power and voice, affirmation, validation and self-confidence .Which leaves many women vulnerable to eating problems, including Black Women and other women of color.

The impact of eating issues among Black women has been around for a long time. Essence magazine conducted a survey in 1994 to bring awareness to the issue. The survey found that 53.5 percent of their Black female respondents were at risk for developing an eating disorder. Many Black Women experience multiple forms of oppression and other life stressors. Research has shown that Black Women are more vulnerable to mental health outcomes from the impact of traumatic experiences. Black Women are vulnerable to binge eating and may use food as a way to cope with emotional distress and regulate negative emotions.


“Choose to Be Well at Duke”

Duke Resources:

Culturally Competent Assessments by CAPS Clinicians
Mindfulness/Yoga Workshops
Groups for Women of Color
Being Well Room

Personal Trainer –Wilson Gym
Nutrition-SHS –Certified Eating Disorders Dietitians
Medical Physician-SHS-Specialized Assessment for eating issues
Duke Wellness Center -Holistic Integrative Health Coaches

National Eating Disorders. Org
National Eating Disorders Association(2005) Eating Disorders in Women of Color