December 5, 2011
Eating disorders are considered critical attitudes, emotions, and eating behaviors. Minimized food intake, overeating, and the perceptions of body image, weight, and shape are some examples. There can be contributing factors and influences that develop the idea of an eating disorder. There are three types of eating disorders, binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. The two most common forms are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, “25% of girls 12-18 years old were reported to be engaged in problematic food and weight behavior” And in men and boys, according to the website nimh.nih.gov, “one in four preadolescent cases of Anorexia occurs in boys, and binge-eating disorder affects females and males about equally”.
While the causes aren’t concise, some contributions can be cultural, personal characteristics, stress events or life changes, family, peers, and media. Individuals of low self-esteem or feeling useless can be a big contribution. For most adolescents they tend to compare themselves to others and they can develop an eating disorder because of this aspect. For example if their friends have an eating disorder they may develop one because they want to fit it. Some adolescents can develop an eating disorder from a stressful event such as; teasing, transition from middle school to high school, or a more traumatic event like rape. Families can even contribute to a teen developing an eating disorder. If parents are fighting a lot or may be considering divorce, this can be stressful and some adolescents handle it by not eating or induce vomiting as a means to obtain control over their parents in the household or gain back the attention. If the adolescent seems to feel like their life is spiraling out of control, they may feel like an eating disorder is a way to gain that control back. Also family studies show that anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders do run in families. The heritability of anorexia nervosa is around 60%, and of bulimia nervosa can be 28 and 80%. For binge eating disorder currently it is 41%. According to some studies conducted across countries eating disorders can be influenced by genetic factors. Another large contribution to eating disorders is our societal views. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, we develop these ideas, beliefs, and attitudes about what is acceptable according to our culture. To put this into perspective if our culture says your beautiful when you skinny, then some people believe that if they’re not skinny, they aren’t beautiful. Essentially since girls are generally valued for their appearance, they are likely the ones to internalize this idea into their thought process. The media also plays a role in the cultural and societal acceptance. A couple of examples that are very common are models and movie stars. Most often models are in every magazine, on every billboard, and in most commercials. Even T.V. shows like America’s Next Top Model gives children at a young age what the idea of “beautiful” is. Most movie stars aren’t overweight, which generally can contribute to both males and females being self-conscious about what the ideal appearance should be.
There are three kinds of aspects that deal with the development of an eating disorder; behavioral, mental, and physical. The National Eating Disorder Association explains the more we focus on thoughts and feelings of our weight and how we look the more we may be missing out on life overall. When we focus on weight and body image, it can become an obsession, which can contribute to emotional and physical issues. The mental aspect of an eating disorder focuses on the opinion of yourself or your self- esteem. Self-esteem and body image both go hand in hand when it comes to one’s body. Eating disorders...
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