Exploring Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders within the East African Community

Jun 16, 12:25 AM
The toxic influence of social media and society standards cause many people, especially women to develop body dysmorphia and eventually an eating disorder. The goal of our project is to eliminate the stigma around eating disorders and body dysmorphia in the East African community. In our video podcast, we dismiss common misconceptions most people have about Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia. This video includes a spoken word piece titled “Digesting Hidden Truths”.

Interested in learning more? 

How Organ Systems are affected by Eating Disorders

Cardiovascular System: How the heart pumps and regulates the circulation of blood within the body is dependent upon the amount of calories that is consumed. With fewer calories, the heart has less fuel for its activities. 
Digestive System: Gastroparesis which is known as slowed digestion occurs. 
Neurological System: The brain consumes one-fifth of the calories the body makes. When actions like fasting, dieting, self-starvation, etc… are occurring,  enough energy will not be delivered to the brain. This can cause difficulties in concentration and sleep. 
Endocrine System: The body hormones are made from the fat and cholesterol we intake when eating. Lack of these nutrients can cause detriments to hormonal levels. 


  •  BDD is more common than disorders such as schizophrenia or anorexia nervosa.
  • Approximately one in fifty people are diagnosed with BDD.
  • The common misconception that black women are less susceptible to eating disorders is false. In fact, studies have found that Eating disorders in the black community develop at the same or higher rate when compared with white women.
  • Black teenagers are 50% more likely than white teenagers to have bulimic behavior, such as binge-eating and purging.
  • Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) with eating disorders are half as likely white people to be diagnosed or receive treatment. 

Meet the People Behind the Project: 

Asha Omar is an intern at the Young Women’s Wellness and Leadership Initiative. Asha wants to employ her education in something beyond a degree: fixing disparities in  women’s health. She hopes to one day open up a community clinic for uninsured women in her community.  In her freetime, Asha enjoys sewing and reading novels. For excitement, Asha loves to visit cafes and restaurants she’s never been to. 

 Raida Ismail is an Intern at the Young Women’s Wellness and Leadership Initiative. She has a passion for making a positive and progressive change in her community’s outlook on mental health. As a future St. Catherine University student, she plans to pursue a degree which will help her fulfill her morals and passions. In her free time she likes to read dystopian themed science fiction novels and try out new baking recipes. She would also like to convince her mom to get her a pet cat one day (not that it's going to work but it's worth a try).

Alia Bereka is an Intern as part of the cohort at the Young Women’s Wellness and Leadership Initiative (YWWLI). She is currently a high school senior at Ubah Medical Academy, and plans to attend the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities in Fall 2021, majoring in Human Physiology. Alia would love to work as humanitarian, in her home country (Ethiopia) and in other foreign countries-with humanitarian need. In other terms, Alia is a science nerd-(more on the anatomical/psychological/physiological side), wannabe cooker, bookworm, Youtube binge watcher, tries to make Fitness/Wellbeing goals, big time procrastinator, and future traveler-inshaAllah( God Willing, she plans to see & experience the lifestyles and customs of other countries).