There are many different styles of eating in the world. Everyone feels differently about food. Some eat for comfort, some for health or nutrition or some let it run their lives by letting the fact that they have to avoid it to be the only way they can control it. There are two popular eating disorders in the world today, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, and even more disturbing is that they are most popular among teens, kids and especially young woman. Generally an eating disorder involves negative thoughts, or self-critical feelings about food or appearance. A person with anorexia typically starves themself to be thin but too an extremely unhealthy weight-loss. A person with bulimia is characterized as a binge eater or purger. They typically have low weight that fluctuates but is not as extreme as anorexic weight-loss. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimates that five million woman and one million men, including children, have eating disorders.
Different types of stress or emotional stress such as depression can cause an eating disorder. A child or young teen is so fragile that a problem at home or school can lead to disturbance in their nutrition. For a child, an eating disorder may be their only way to cope with problems. It is found that as an anorexic who loses more and more weight sees themself as only getting fatter and fatter. Body image distortions are what are associated with the disorders.
Research suggests that media too has a lot to do with eating disorders in the world. Primarily on young teens who are only just developing and see this image that they have to be look like. Most woman in advertising, movies, TV and sports are all thin and fit looking. This image is what leads young girls to think that the only way they can be ideally beautiful is to be thin. Boys too, may look at the media and think they need to compulsively exercise and practically eat nothing that a growing boy should have in a day.
Eating disorders have been diagnosed to start at as young as 11 years old. The most popular age for the problem is 14-15 years. Ninety percent of children and teens with eating disorders are girls. Malnutrition in these young developing teens have serious consequences. Medical problems and dehydration but most importantly it can affect them the rest of their lives and they are so young. It can cause confusion, fainting, dizziness, loss of memory, inability to concentrate and get through school and can even have serious affects on puberty and bone growths.
Parents should be aware of the warning signs and symptoms before they can set in too deep:
-fear of weight-gain
-food related questions and conversations
-lack of menstrual periods
-preference to eat in isolation
-binge eating uncontrollable)
-purging by strict dieting, fasting vigorous exercise or vomiting.
-reddened fingers or bite marks
-swollen cheeks or glands
-preoccupation of body weight
-depression or mood swings
-heartburn or bloating
-problems with drugs, alcohol, crime or sexual activity
If a parent suspects their child has an eating disorder, it is respectful that they try to talk to their child about it and explain to them they need to visit a doctor or a dietician. They should even rent movies about the problems and let them see for themselves the outcomes of someone else since they can’t see their own. A parent should never force food into their child just talk to a doctor quick. Whatever the reason for the disorder the parents and child all need to work together. “The best tools for parents are education and quality treatment” for children with eating disorders since there is so much denial going on. It is found that the generations are only getter worse and more insecure. It is awful that such young innocent developing teens who could grow up to be anything have to be scarred at such a young age. The media is to blame for this a great deal. As the years go by and we are now in 2003, eating disorders only seems to get worse as Hollywood thrashes the concept of healthy eating and loving the bodies God gave us. Something needs to be done in this world and hopefully some day I could be one to help.