Eating Disorders: A Case Of Growing Numbers

By: skleong
Eating disorders are fast becoming a growing and common problem. It is not unusual to open up the newspapers and reading about reports of this condition every other day. Many models, actresses and famous celebrities are also widely known to have eating disorders due to their desire to look good for the camera.

In the United States, statistics show that currently there are approximately between 5 and 10 million women in the United States who suffer from some kind of eating disorder, or are at the borderline of developing one. The wide variance is an indication of many cases that go unreported or undiagnosed. Many prefer not to seek treatment as they mistakenly believe that they do not have a problem.

It is also not true that eating disorders just affect young women. Young women are thought to be most susceptible as they are more concerned about beauty and fashion. However, in reality, people of all ages and from any kind of background can generally be affected. So long as you become obsessed with unhealthy eating patterns, you can be said to be showing symptoms of
this condition. It is estimated that over one million boys and men suffer from some form of eating disorder.

However, there are many experts who believe that this statistic may be distorted because many men with eating disorders are not accurately diagnosed. Studies have shown that many men are told that they are simply exhausted tired or depressed. Doctors fail to think that men can be affected too.

So what are eating disorders? They refer to conditions whereby you have an unhealthy preoccupation with food and body image.

The most common types are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating. Anorexia describes a condition whereby you just refuse to eat due to an obsession with weight loss. Bulimia is characterized by a cycle of binging and purging that you use to control your weight. Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder that involves sessions of intense overeating followed by feelings of intense guilt. Other disorders that are related to eating disorders include emotional eating and nocturnal eating.

One startling statistic reveals how prevalent eating disorders actually are in the United States. According to recent research, the number of people suffering from an eating disorder is three times as much as the number of people currently living with AIDS. Another statistic tells us that there are three times as many people with eating disorders than there are schizophrenia patients
in the United States.

One of the root causes of eating disorders is the way beauty and body image are constantly being portrayed by the media. Fashion magazines and TV commercials present the ideal American model to be 5'11" tall and of 117 pounds in weight. Yet, the average modern American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds. Inevitably, this disparity in the numbers can only result in eating disorders developing so that the perfect body weight and shape can be attained. Who does not want to look like a model?

Even young children nowadays are consumed by thoughts of weight and physical beauty. Recent studies find that about half of all American elementary age school children would like to be thinner, expressing dissatisfaction with their current appearance. Even kindergarten aged children are anxous about their looks and fear gaining weight. Some have even gone on diets so that they can look better. Eating disorders used to be virtually non-existent with young children. It just does not seem that way anymore.
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