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Eating disorders often start early

Dramatic weight loss, anxiety about gaining weight and excessive exercise are all signs of Anorexia Nervosa, a disease that is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses in young women (L.K. George Hsu, 1996).

The search for the cause of this life-threatening disease often ends blaming the media. This conclusion is not ill founded, considering that according to one study, the average American woman is 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds, while the average American model is 5’11” and 117 pounds (L. Smolak, 1996).

“The media has portrayed something to the people that takes an eating disorder to achieve,” Amy Gentz, ’02, said. “?Be skin and bones and be beautiful.'”

Eating disorders get an early start. A survey found that 51 percent of 9 and 10 year-old girls feel better about themselves when they are on a diet (L.M. Mellin et al., 1991).

” I feel that it is not right to put so much pressure on young people to look so perfect,” Kacie Filgas, ’05, said. “My weight is how it is; I like food so I eat and gain the weight.”

To strive to look like a “beautiful person” one sees in the media is something that Amanda Pjerrou, ’02, thinks would take surgery to accomplish.

“I think it’s disgusting because the majority of figures in the media are fake,” Pjerrou said. “They spend big bucks on plastic surgery so they can look good on T.V. There is so much more to a person other than their looks.”

Besides outside influence, depression and anxiety can also lead to the start of unhealthy eating habits.

“”Poor diets often result from depression,” Leslie Bonci, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and director of sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said. “Energy level and drive are much lower than usual and enthusiasm for most things, including meals, is lost.”

Treatment of eating disorders usually involves psychotherapy, and full recovery can take many years to accomplish. For more information on eating disorders, try the Internet at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ (National Eating Disorders) or www.mirror-mirror.org/eatdis.htm (Eating Disorders Mirror-Mirror) or
www.nmisp.org/eat/eat-fact.htm (National Eating Disorders Screening Program).” “www.nmisp.org/eat/eat-fact.htm” “Eating disorders get an early start. A survey found that 51 percent of 9 and 10 year-old girls feel better about themselves when they are on a diet (L.M. Mellin et al., 1991).” “” “” “National Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders Mirror-Mirror Awareness web site

National Eating Disorders Screening Program

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