Determining Risk Factors of Eating Disorders

Topics: Eating disorders, Nutrition, Body image Pages: 7 (1851 words) Published: February 17, 2012
Determining risk factors, consequences, and protective measures

of Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disorders

Determining risk factors, consequences, and protective measures

of Body Dissatisfaction and Eating Disorders

Body image is an individual’s perception of his or her own body in terms of sexual attractiveness. Human society has emphasized on beauty of the human body for a long time. However, an individual’s perception of their own body may differ from society’s standards, thus, causing body dissatisfaction. As a response to body dissatisfaction, every year, millions of people in the world succumb to potentially life threatening eating disorders. Eating disorders are a group of conditions characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve excessive or insufficient food consumption, thus, affecting an individual’s physical and psychological health. Some common types of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating, and obesity. This paper has explored six published articles that conducted research on various factors contributing to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. The articles have examined the influence of society and media, gender and ethnic differences, development of depression, and some protective measures for body dissatisfaction and the development of eating disorders. In today’s society, both men and women are pressured to obtain an unrealistic body size and shape. This has plagued even children through toys such as Barbie and Ken. Thin-ideal internalization is a potential risk factor for eating and body image concerns (Thompson & Stice, 2001). Family, peers, and media have a tendency of reinforcing the idea of thinness and its benefits (Thompson & Stice, 2001). Therefore, people, especially women view thinness as desirable and have begun to cultivate the norm that places increased value on thinness. Body dissatisfaction increases when women start believing that others do not accept their physical appearance. Women are continuously exposed to images and ideas of thinness, and are led to believe that thinness is an attainable goal. This notion has resulted in body dissatisfaction, as it can be very difficult to match the actual weight with the ideal weight (Thompson & Stice, 2001). Women see many discrepancies when they compare their bodies with the ideal forms. This causes lowered self-esteem, which can then lead to eating disorders. Media in today’s culture has a powerful presence. It does not only glorify thinness, but is also correlated with obesity. Media encourages sedentary lifestyle. Both children and adults spend a lot of time chatting online or watching TV while snacking, thus causing weight gain. Past research has suggested that women are more vulnerable to the influence of media and its effects on body image. However, recent research has suggested that men are also prone to developing eating disorders because of media’s emphasis on muscularity (Botta, 2003). Magazines serve as an important source of fashion and social comparison for adolescents. Reading sports and health magazines have been related to the development of body dissatisfaction and eating disorders for young boys (Botta, 2003). Men are judged on whether or not they have an ideal v-shaped body (Botta, 2003). Magazines motivate and reinforce muscle gain and attainment of a muscular body for men (Botta, 2003). When men fail to change their body shape, they can become very critical of it and turn to negative eating behaviors. Young men have been found to consume steroids and other kinds of pills to acquire the desired body shape (Botta, 2003)....

References: Botta, R. A. (2003). For your health? The relationship between magazine reading and
adolescents’ body image and eating disturbances
Peterson, R. D., Grippo, K. P., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2008). Empowerment and powerlessness: A
closer look at the relationship between feminism, body image and eating disturbance
Stice, E., Hayward, C., Cameron, R.P., Killen, J.D., & Taylor, B. (2000). Body-image and eating
disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents: A longitudinal study.
Thompson, J.K., & Stice, E. (2001). Thin-Ideal internalization: Mounting evidence for a new risk
factor for body-image disturbance and eating pathology
Tylka, T.L. (2004). The relation between body dissatisfaction and eating disorder
symptomatology: An analysis of moderating variables
White, M. A., & Grilo, C. M. (2005). Ethnic differences in the prediction of eating and body
image disturbances among female adolescent psychiatric inpatients
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