We need to pay much better attention to eating issues, according to sources in the know. This doesn’t just apply to the national epidemic of obesity, but to eating disorders. Eating disorders can cause death or severe and lasting health problems with astronomical costs. Last week was National Eating Disorders Week, highlighting that eating disorders, like obesity, are a major problem in the US. According to statistics listed by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 0.5 percent to 3.7 percent of females suffer from anorexia, and 1.1 percent to 4.2 percent suffer from bulimia in their lifetimes (2008). They quote an estimated 12 times of women from age 15 to 24 with anorexia die as a result of the disorder than of all other causes of death. Males suffer a lower rate of anorexia, but they too are sometimes afflicted, and have a higher rate of bulimia and binge-eating disorders than anorexia.
These disorders involve complicated issues and affect more people than the rich and famous, according to an article by Koman (2009), released by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. The article says that while obesity was found among the population of 2006 at a rate of 20% in all states except four, binge eating is the next most common eating problem. It’s counted as an actual disorder. Bulimia nervosa, often called just bulimia, is the next most prevalent eating disorder. This includes binging and purging, whether by purposely vomiting food before digestion or using laxatives to lose weight. Anorexia is the least prevalent, but still at a sobering level.
Komen suggests that, “As adults, we need to model healthy attitudes and habits, ignore fad diets and educate our children better” (2009). He says not enough national research funds have gone to study these disorders and the public doesn’t have enough good information on them. He also says that if an eating disorder develops, people shouldn’t hesitate to seek help for themselves or others because these disorders can be successfully treated, but to be careful of any “quick fix” (2009).
Some signs of anorexia nervosa include obsessiveness about food or exercise, low blood pressure, distorted body image, restrictions on eating certain types of food and a yellow-orange color in the skin, particularly on the palms.
Komen, S. As you were saying . . . ; Facing a silent epidemic, APA – Psychport.com, Feb 21, 2009; Internet source at http://www.psycport.com/showArticle.cfm?xmIFile=bhsuper_2009_
The numbers count: Mental disorders in America, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 2008; Internet source at http://www.nimh.nih.gove/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml#Eating
© Copyright 2009 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW, therapist in Seattle, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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