Today’s episode takes us on a global journey with Dr. Anne Becker, Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Although Anne never became the meteorologist she imagined in her youth, as a psychiatrist and anthropologist, she traveled far from home to launch pioneering work in Fiji focused on how culture contributes to shaping the meaning of body image and risk for eating disorders. In this episode, Anne shares how she got to Fiji, the surprising conversations, and the evolving meaning of weight in Fijian communities at different points in time. Anne shares the serendipitous circumstances that enabled her to map the impact of the arrival of American television on triggering eating disorder symptoms and rising body shape and weight concerns. Dr. Becker’s keen intellect and her delight in discovery is riveting and contagious as she shares her pioneering work, which is foundational for anyone who wants to understand culture and eating disorders.

Becker, A.E. Television, Disordered Eating, and Young Women in Fiji: Negotiating Body Image and Identity during Rapid Social Change. Cult Med Psychiatry 28, 533–559 (2004).

Becker, A.E. Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji, 1995.