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There is little research on eating disorders and African Americans; at the same time health issues associated with these disorders are having an increasing impact on this population, especially women. This is an in-depth qualitative study of the emotional linkages to disordered eating that lead to obesity in African American women. A comprehensive examination of the literature on the historical, cultural and social aspects of disordered eating in African American women is included as a foundation to understanding the multifaceted aspects of the problem. Relevant theoretical frameworks included Ecological Systems Theory, Black Feminist Thought, and the Biopsychosocial Model. Seven women provided lengthy accounts of their experiences gaining weight, overeating and living with obesity. The research findings indicated that women had distorted body images, used to food as a coping tool, and experienced stress related to role strain.