Eating Disorders and the Media

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Eating Disorders and the Media Doctors annually diagnose millions of Americans with eating disorders. Of those diagnosed, ninety percent are women. Most of these women have one of the two most common types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (National Council on Eating Disorders, 2004). People with anorexia nervosa experience heart muscle shrinkage along with slow and irregular heartbeats and eventually heart failure. Along with their heart, their kidney, digestive system and muscles often fail them. The mortality rate of anorexia is twenty percent, which is the highest of any psychiatric disorder. People with bulimia nervosa experience erosion of their teeth, irritation and rips in their throat, stomach, and esophagus, and develop a dependency on laxatives. These symptoms occur along with the same symptoms that anorexics suffer. One third of people with eating disorders never fully recover. Instead, according to eating disorder researchers, they experience “repeating wavelike patterns of disease and recovery [and] seldom return to a state of normal eating” (D'Abundo & Chally, 2004; National Council on Eating Disorders, 2004). How can a female choose to force her body into a state of living decay? In this paper, I have discussed the complex interaction of media and young women. I have also proposed solutions that might help activists interested in lessening the chances of girls developing eating disorders. In the literature review, I focus on the scholarly work conducted to understand how consumption of certain media interacts with low self-esteem to cause young females to want to fit the societal norm of being thin. This drive for thinness in young women can cause eating disorders. Th... ... middle of paper ... ...urrent Directions in Psychological Science, 10(5), 181-183. Thomsen, S. (2002). Health and Beauty Magazine Reading and Body Shape Concerns Among a Group of College Women. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, (79) 4, 988-1007. Tyner, T. (1992). Implementation: The Next Step. Strategies for Media Literacy Quarterly. Walsh, B. (2004). A Plea for Expanded Media Literacy. Retrieved on December 8, 2004, from http://interact.uoregon.edu/MediaLit/mlr/readings/articles/kubey.html. Wade, T. Davidson, S. & O’Dea, J. (2002). A Preliminary Controlled Evaluation of a School-Based Media Literacy Program and Self-Esteem Program for Reducing Eating Disorder Risk Factors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 371 – 383. Zajonc, R. (2001). Mere Exposure: A gateway to the Subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(6), 224-228.

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