Against Media Causing Eating Disorders

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5 April 2009

Against Media Causing Eating Disorders (Final Draft)
Within the past few years more and more attention has been drawn to the victims of eating disorders. These victims try to lose weight in anyway that they can. These disorders are caused by factors such as stress, family problems, and traumatic events. Despite the psychologically proven reasons, blame is still put on the media. To put blame on the media is ignorant.

There are two main eating disorders that deal with weight loss, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. The difference between the two disorders are the ways in which the victims try to lose excessive weight. In both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa the victims succumb to a fear of being overweight due to an unrealistic negative image of themselves. Both illnesses cause the victim to be overly obsessive about both their weight and food intake.

According to an article provided by the CRS-Adult Health Advisor, Anorexia Nervosa is an illness where people that already have a low weight for their age and height severely limit their food intake and exercise over excessively (“Anorexia”).

Bulimia Nervosa victims, like Anorexia Nervosa victims, refuse to be the minimum weight for their age and height. In an article by CRS-Adult Health Advisor, it is written that Bulimia Nervosa patients try to lose weight by binge eating. Binge eating is when a person eats a larger amount of food than others in a similar timeframe. The victim then follow the consumption with some form of extreme weight loss technique. These techniques can include abuse of laxatives, self-induced vomiting, fasting for long periods before binging, and for victims with diabetes, not taking their insulin (“Bulimia”).

People have suddenly started pointed the blame of these two eating disorders on models, actresses, and advertisements. Each reason that deals with the media is wrong.
A person with a healthy weight is said to be someone who is within a healthy limit for their age and height. Models are said to be a large percentage skinnier than the average woman. What is “average?” The “average” American is overweight for their age and height, therefore if an American model is skinnier than “average,“ they could very well be perfectly healthy or slightly less than that, but nothing life threatening. When pictures of models are shown, they look skinny, but there are no bones visible or “poking out” where they anatomically shouldn’t be.

It is rare to see an actress or actor that is bulimic or anorexic. Actors and actresses usually pay for a personal trainer, a huge reason why they are in shape and “skinny.”
Advertisements are made to attract the human mind. There are diet advertisements all over the newspapers, magazines, internet, television, et cetera. The key to remember, though, is that these are diet advertisements.

According to “Diet,? a diet means “Food, as regards its nutritive value or its effects on the body” (371). Anorexia Nervosa is a condition where the person affected does not eat at all. Bulimia patients eat, but purge what they’ve eaten. Both disorders deprive the body from food and its nutrients. A diet is used to maintain a healthy weight by making more healthy choices in the food one eats and limiting those choices to serving sizes or small portions, not discontinue food completely. A person has to remember that the several advertisements we see everyday are promoting diets. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are not, in any form, diets. We buy into diets, not into eating disorders (“Diet”).

The blame for eating disorders is incorrectly placed. According to an article by Craig Johnson, PhD on Yourtotalhealth.ivillage.com, eating disorders are caused from several factors in an individual’s life. The factors that cause both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia are: major life transitions, family problems, social problems, failure, a traumatic event, major illness or injury, and other psychiatric illnesses (Johnson)....
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