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Soon the individual finds themselves so caught up in portraying “the perfect image” that’s it is nearly impossible to stop. It was during the 70’s and 80’s that obesity in the US skyrocketed in this category of eating disorders; a form of a mental illness. This illness affects both children, adolescents, men and women alike. In 1970 studies show the average girl started dieting at age 14 and within 20 years by 1990 the average went down to age 8. That is a 6 year range of difference!
The social desirability research in psychology documents our prejudices against the unattractive, particularly the obese, who are the social lepers of our culture” (Pipher 217). “Young women with eating disorders are not at all different from their peers. It’s a matter of degree. Almost all adolescent girls feel fat, worry about their weight, diet and feel guilty when they eat” (Pipher 218). Although both eating disorders are medically dangerous, mentally unhealthy and take a very long time to treat and cure, anorexia nervosa is more glamorous than bulimia because anorexics are thinner than bulimics, and being thin means being beautiful in American culture.
Newsweek 18 March 1996: 50-6 (accessed online--Sirs Researcher). Henderson, Randi. "Relying on Ritalin." Common Boundary May/June 1996: 22-30 (accessed online--Sirs Researcher). McLeod, Rebecca and Ron.
Although eating disorders afflict women much more often than they do men, it is estimated that about one million American men suffer from either anorexia or bulimia, and millions more have binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are much more prevalent in industrialized countries. According to the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders are most common in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Americans today live in a fat-phobic society where, from a very early age, girls are raised to think that thin is better. The famous writer and theater critic Dorothy Parker once said, "no woman can be too rich or too thin," words that quickly became a catchphrase still used today.
People across the world, even those without televisions, have heard or seen anorexia. Anorexia is a common eating disorder in which someone does not eat because they have a loss of appetite and want to lose weight. Anorexia can lead to thinning of the body, but the rapid loss of weight includes a multitude of health problems. Models are seen on the television, on magazines, on posters, and on billboards. Do these models know that they may be affecting the minds of younger girls?
"Anorexia Nervosa" Bizarre, devastating, and baffling are three words that describe the anorexia nervosa disease. By definition, anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a normal-weight person diets and becomes significantly underweight, yet, still feeling fat, continue to starve themselves. The term "anorexia nervosa" literally means nervous lose of appetite. People with the disorder are suppressing a strong desire to eat, because they are afraid of becoming fat. Anorexia is characterized by extreme starvation that leads to a disastrous loss of weight.