Many women and some men deal with severe food eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia. Bulimia nervosa is when a person excessively binge eats and follows up with a method to avoid weight gain. Such methods include purging, exercising or fasting. Anorexia is diagnosed when someone is typically underweight from starving from fear of an obese body shape. Teenagers and young adults are primarily affected by these disorders. Though this problem is not as recognized as smoking and drinking, it still impacts our society negatively.
Approximately 3 in 100 women and 1 in 200 men suffer from Bulimia nervosa. These people often have severe dehydration and fatigue. Bulimia is considered as a life threatening disorder. Many people exercise or purge themselves until that are completely out of energy. 4% of people with Bulimia die from extreme weight loss methods. 1.5% of our population suffers from Anorexia and 10% of them starve themselves to death. Generally people suffering from Bulimia and Anorexia die in their sleep, so they never wake up after going to bed.
The facts clearly show that bulimia and anorexia are much more prevalent in females compared to males. While women try to shape up to a model’s photoshopped body, men try to bulk up to a bodybuilder’s figure. Very rarely, males try to starve themselves to maintain a low body weight. Because our community focuses much more on sexualizing a woman’s body, female teens and adolescents are much more likely to end up with a food eating disorder. Research shows that young women in Fiji are encouraged to have round and thicker bodies; however, ever since TV’s appeared on the remote island , young girls have been developing eating disorders. These girls dream “of not looking like their mothers but the slender stars” in Hollywood. Within more industrialized societies, girls and women are much more likely to develop bulimia and anorexia.
Why have eating disorder like these impacted our youth so much? Many blame it on the standards our society has set for our children. Expectations of young women and men have inspired unrealistic body goals. In order to achieve these body goals, adolescents and young adults take radical measures to control their body weight. Movie stars and super models use Photoshop to create a different portrayal of themselves. “Our media’s increased obsession with the thin-ideal and industry promotion of a ‘perfect’ body may contribute to unrealistic body ideals in people with and without eating disorders”; because of this, a majority of teens and adolescents have thoughts about body weight and some develop food eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. With less discouragement and impractical body images from our society, much more citizens would be confident in their bodies. Another factor behind bulimia and anorexia comes from family problems or even abuse. Troubling relationships can lead to unhappiness and depression. Also, those who have a history of sexual and physical abuse have a higher tendency to be diagnosed with a food eating disorder. In order to compensate for all the difficulties, many strive for perfection in other areas such as their body images; this leads to bulimia and anorexia.
There are a number of methods to treating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Visiting group therapy and support groups help with coping. Specialists like psychologists and nutritionists help monitor a patient’s health and diet. In patient housing is used for intensive care. Patients have a 24/7 access to a therapist and a nutritionist. With a more extreme form of help, many recover quicker than usual. Less intensive care, such as outpatient living, allows the patient to continue living independently but is required to be checked on frequently by nutritionists and physicians. As our society’s standards become illogical, our youth develop disorders such as bulimia and anorexia; helping them should be our primary goal. While healing current patients, we should also be working on ways to prevent eating disorders from developing in the future.
Some countries in the world focus on preventing eating disorders by labeling the very few photoshopped pictures as “retouched” and requiring models to be at a certain weight before entering a competition or runaway. As a country, we can easily follow similar footsteps in order to prevent this disorders from happening any further. By treating current patients and averting future cases we can help our youth grow in a positive environment without worrying about their weight.
Post written by guest writer Medha Dandamudi