you have eating disorders?
Statistics of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious conditions characterized by an unhealthy
preoccupation with food and body image. The most common types of
eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating.
Anorexia is marked by the refusal to eat and an obsession with
Bulimia is characterized by a
cycle of binging and purging that the individual uses to control
his or her weight.
Binge eating disorder is an eating
disorder that involves sessions of intense overeating followed
by feelings of shame.
that are related to eating disorders include emotional eating
and nocturnal eating.
Even though most people think
of eating disorders as a condition that affects only young women,
disorders can affect people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Here are some of the most recent statistics about incidence
disorders in the United States.
Eating disorders are not rare
in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that currently there
5 and 10
million women in the United States who suffer from some
kind of eating disorder, or are at the borderline of developing
It is also
estimated that over one million boys and men suffer from
some kind of eating disorder.
Most physicians believe
may not be accurate because many men with eating disorders
are not accurately
diagnosed. Studies have shown that many men are told
that they are simply tired or depressed, when they are actually
an eating disorder.
One startling statistic reveals
how prevalent eating disorders actually are in the United States.
to recent research, the number of people suffering
disorder is three times as much as the number of
currently living with
AIDS. Another statistic tells us that there are three
times as many people with eating disorders than there are schizophrenia
in the United States.
Another set of statistics reveals
the way issues of beauty and body image are portrayed in the media.
According to research, the average
modern American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs
approximately 140 pounds. Compare this to the image
that fashion magazines and
TV commercials present as the ideal of beauty. The
average American model is 5'11" tall and weights
117 pounds, and they are represented as the ideal
of our cultural beauty.
The disparity between these
two figures, some commentators and physicians argue,
is partly responsible
to the way women view their bodies and construct
their self-image. Many women find themselves deficient
when compared to the ideal presented
through the media. The effect of media images on
young children have not been lost on researchers,
who find that many young children are
already consumed by thoughts of weight and physical
Recent studies find that roughly
half of all American elementary age school
children would like to be thinner, and even Kindergarten
aged students have been shown to display anxiety
over their physical appearance
and their fear of gaining weight. Many young
children find themselves already preoccupied with either
losing or maintaining their weight,
and have even gone on diets to achieve these
Treating An Eating Disorder
The majority of people who are suffering from an eating disorder,
particularly in the early stages resist any form of treatment or
change to their behaviour. Sadly they are under the illusion that
if they lose weight or remain slim, they will feel better about
themselves and their lives will be improved whilst enjoying success
and self confidence.
However, after a while anorexics
begin to comprehend that their perceived benefits of being thin
are an illusion and will
fail to bring them
happiness and starving themselves along with the other usual weight
loss characteristics is not the answer. Once an anorexic has reached
this point in their illness they begin to search for other ways
to build a meaningful life although there are a number of
to reach this point.
During the treatment stage, between 20-30% drops out too early
Many of those who continue their
treatment have lapses and
become discouraged to continue. When an anorexic realises that
it takes months, sometimes years or hard work and determination
they are recovered they often give up too.
There are four major stages of
commitment in the recovery process for anorexia:
i) obtain treatment
ii) remain in treatment
iii) make certain changes to one’s lifestyle
iv) treat the underlying emotional/psychological issues that
led to the eating disorder in the first instance.
Recovery for people with eating
disorder is possible and a lot of people have received successful
and recovery process is a very difficult process and can
take over a decade for some, although others make a much
who receive treatment for the psychological issues along
medical ones that contribute to the disorder usually make
a faster recovery.
The recovery rate or significant
progress rate of those who receive treatment for eating disorders
80%. The remaining
20% are regarded as chronic sufferers or die.
Recovery is a lot more that one
having the ability to eat a normal size meal with ease. It includes
• for women menstrual periods return to a normal regularity
• normal or near normal weight is maintained
• a balanced diet of a normal variety of foods and not just those which
as low in fat, sugar or low calorie
• appropriate relationships with family members
• a major reduction or elimination of food fears which are irrational
• natural interests in romantic relationships
• mutually satisfying relationships which are healthy and with normal
• appreciating the process of making choices and having consequences
• having goals and a plan to achieve them which is realistic
activities which are fun and not involving food appearance or ones’ weight.
• Individual no longer drives oneself
with criticism and demands for any unrealistic performance
• Gains strong ability for problem solving
Every person’s situation
it unique therefore the treatment is essentially custom made. However,
process should always begin with an evaluation by the physician or an eating
Preventing Eating Disorders
Can eating disorders be prevented? This is a question that many health
professionals and eating disorder patients would like to know.
According to recent research, it appears that there are several
preventive measures that can be taken in order to prevent the development
of an eating disorder.
Preventive measures should be
adopted early on in families where there is a history of eating
other types of compulsive behaviors. Here are five preventive
measures that anyone can enact in order to keep eating disorders
||Refuse to diet. Dieting,
eating disorder experts tell us, is usually the first step
to developing an eating disorder. One eating disorder support
organization notes that women who adopt extremes in their dieting
are eighteen times more at risk of developing an eating disorder.
If someone in your family may be vulnerable to developing an
eating disorder, they should refrain from dieting. Instead,
the individual should visit a physician to learn about safe
and effective ways to losing weight. Diets, with their philosophy
of deprivation, only exacerbate the eating disorder patient's
propensity for engaging in destructive and compulsive behavior.
|| Parents should act as positive and healthy
role models. Researchers tell us that parents play a very important
role in whether children will eventually develop an eating
disorder. Many parents unconsciously project unhealthy beliefs
and attitudes about their own bodies that their children pick
up on. Parents who place a high value on being thin or other
aspects of one's physical appearance may be sending the message
to their children that physical appearance is more important
than being happy and healthy. Parents should strive to cultivate
a positive attitude about their own bodies. They should provide
their children with a safe, caring and non-judgmental atmosphere.
This can be accomplished by planning nutritious meals and fun
activities that involve the entire family. Negative self-talk
should always be avoided.
||Family dynamics can prove key to preventing
an eating disorder. Families should strive to spend quality
time together. Prepare and eat dinner together, and engage
in fun outdoor activities. Competition and criticism should
be avoided in order to create a safe and caring environment
where children feel valued.
||Think of exercise as a means to good
health, not a slim body. Our collective attitude towards exercise
is generally negative. As a culture, we think of exercise as
just another chore, something that is boring, hard, and even
painful. Changing the way you think about exercise can help
prevent the onset of an eating disorder. Regaining a sense
of the pure joy of movement is one way to prevent the development
of eating disorders. Strive to engage in activities that interest
and thrill you.
||Eat a variety of foods in moderation.
Eating food in moderation means you can eat even your favorite
guilty pleasures. Resist from making a mental "do not
eat" list in order to cultivate a healthy attitude towards
food. Remember, you can eat anything you want, as long as you
keep your foods balanced.