Abstract Five cases of anorexia nervosa in black American patients are presented. All had lost parents by death or divorce. Three had a family history of obesity and of a physical illness related to obesity. Two were male and both of these had a previous history of serious psychiatric disturbance. Three patients had a first or second degree relative with affective disorder. Two patients showed a primary lack of sexual interest and one male was bisexual. Four of the patients came from social classes 3–5.