Consuming Disorders Are Severe Ailments

Research reports that two out of four young people have unhealthy ideas about eating, dieting and weight. With the alarming increase of eating disorders, dieting, and obesity among children as young as 5 and 6, it’s crucial these days for parents to proactively work to promote healthy eating and body image in their children. It has been found that in households where mom talks about feeling fat, 81% of their teenage daughters said they felt fat too. Our girls, especially, are being easily confused and influenced when it comes to body image development. In a culture where young people are bombarded with skinny, glossy, and superficial images, parents can be a mirror reflecting understanding, reassurance, wisdom, and love that their children can look into with faith and not fear. Many factors influence whether an adolescent will develop a positive or negative body image.

Everyday 56% of the women in the United States are on diets. We have a 30-billion-dollar-a-year diet industry. The historical view of the ideal female body has changed over the years and influenced this dieting America. Although many factors contribute to the changing body shape of girls, including better nutrition, earlier onset of puberty and other societal influences. The fact remains that regardless of the reason, the common trend over time points to a slenderizing standard of the female ideal. It standards like this; it is no wonder that children are dissatisfied with their bodies. When it came to looks teens are most concerned about weight. A Teen People survey of 1000 teens showed that 39% worried about weight. Between 2000 and 2001, cosmetic surgery on girls 18 and younger had increased by 22%. 69% reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of the perfect body shape and 47% reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.

This study found that those who were frequent readers of fashion magazines were 2-3 times more likely than infrequent readers to start dieting to lose weight because of a magazine article. Is it any wonder, then, that eating disorders affect 7 million women and 1 million men in the United States? Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. People with anorexia starve themselves to dangerously thin levels, at least 15% below their appropriate weight. People with bulimia binge uncontrollably on large amounts of food sometimes thousands of calories at a time and then purge the calories out of their bodies through vomiting, starving, excessive exercise, laxatives, or other methods. People with binge-eating disorder eat uncontrollably, but they do not purge the calories. Eating Disorders not otherwise specified is a new classification of disordered eating that falls between anorexia, binge eating and bulimia.

Unfortunately, since this type of ‘sub-clinical’ disorder is often not life-threatening, there appears to be little research available on the topic. Eating disorders are serious illnesses. The malnourishment of both anorexia and bulimia affects the body rapidly and can lead to hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, enlargement of the heart, heart attacks, congestive heart failure and permanent brain shrinkage with loss of memory and IQ, infertility, and osteoporosis. It is not uncommon for a teenage girl with anorexia to have the bones of an 80 year old woman. The condition is not reversible. Ultimately, approximately, 6% of people with anorexia and 1% with bulimia will die from their eating disorder. According to Remuda Ranch, an inpatient eating disorder treatment center in Arizona, estimates indicate that 1/3 of American women and 15% of men will have an eating disorder or related problem at some time in their lives.