Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that affect people from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. However, within the AAPI community, these disorders often go unnoticed or unaddressed due to cultural stigma and lack of awareness. Despite this silence, eating disorders are a significant issue within the AAPI population, with profound impacts on physical health, emotional well-being, and familial dynamics.
What are eating disorders?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders are behavioral conditions characterized by disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.
Type of eating disorders include:
COVID-19 Effects on Mental and Physical Health
As the world grappled with challenges brought by COVID-19, the effects on both mental and physical health became increasingly apparent. With widespread lockdowns and social restrictions, many found themselves grappling with heightened levels of stress while also experiencing difficulty to cope and seek help.
Eating Disorders within the AAPI Community
Eating disorders can impact people regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic status. There is often a misconception that eating disorders affect only upper-middle-class white female patients. However, the rates of disordered eating in AAPI women are comparable to rates seen in European American women and often higher rates than other women of color.
Statistics reveal the prevalence and severity of eating disorders within the AAPI community.
Eating Disorders are a significant but often overlooked issue within our community due to cultural stigmas, lack of awareness, and limited access to culturally appropriate resources that lead to under diagnosis and under treatment. By de-stigmatizing conversations about mental health and promoting culturally competent resources and support services, we can empower individuals to seek help and support early intervention and recovery. We hope that by raising awareness, fostering supporting communities, and bridging access to resources can provide individuals in our community they need to heal and thrive.