Why do so many people all over the world have Eating disorders issues? As I always had issues with a weight I remember iconic models in ’90s and beginning of ’00s. Extremely skinny, tall, promoting unhealthy diets on cabbage leaves or juices. Everyone was in danger as an average woman can´t weight 45 kg with a height of 175 cm. I remember, how I couldn’t find clothes in a shop as the world was captured by slim people.
- Social reasons
Researchers discovered that eating disorders happen primarily in nations where social media portrays slender models and celebrities as an ideal to strive for. Newspapers, magazines, and TV focuses on being’ thin’ as appealing, making individuals more than ever strive for slimmer looks, diets, and workout. Research made by Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Boston Children’s Hospital of 85 female models at New York Fashion Week of 2017 shows that
Over 62% of the surveyed models reported that they have been asked by their agency to lose weight or improve their shape or size. The talk is about individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) that already put them in the unhealthy category and they are told to lose more weight. 54% were threatened that would lose their jobs and never find a new one if they didn´t lose weight. 9% were offered to make plastic surgery. As you can see models world is under extreme pressure and Anorexia and Bulimia are seemed to be a normal result of their work. So, I’m not surprised that many girls have ED, as nobody told them that it shouldn’t be like this, nobody had “A young girl tutorial how to live”. We had what we had- TVs, Magazines, Newspapers.
Some of you can say, that standards are different now, the body-positive community is getting larger. But, we need to change the consciousness of our society, media, influencers first. We need to teach our children that they have their own personality, that they can reach any of their dreams without extreme diets and restrictions. We need to teach ourselves to be the best coaches for our children. We need to explain to them that magazines and TV models don´t decide what is a beauty standard, it all goes from our head and heart!
- Family factors
Family. What does it mean for you? For me, it´s a support, it´s a school of life as the first knowledge you get from your parents and family members, love and understanding. But every relationship can be toxic, even within your best people.
Certain family-related factors seem to be contributing to the development of these disorders too. For example, the high risk of developing eating disorders runs in the families that:
– focus on high achievement;
– emphasize being perfect;
– are concerned about appearance;
– have difficulty talking about or coping with negative emotions such as
sadness or anger;
– worry about being socially accepted;
– are concerned about physical fitness, including parents’ own body
weight and that of the child;
– are overprotective or too involved in their teen’s life
American Addiction Center research indicates that many children from these kinds of families try to achieve the appearance of success by being thin and attractive, even if they do not feel successful. If children perceive that they are failing to live up to family expectations, they may turn to something that seems more easily controlled and at which they may be more successful, such as food restriction or weight loss.
The same happened to me one day. ( Check my story here. ) I had overeating problems in childhood and was afraid to ask for an extra slice of pie or piece of meat. I was afraid to disappoint my family and wanted to lose weight just to show, that I am like them, I also deserved one more slice of a cake. I think it was a trigger for all my future dieting journeys. No one told me how to eat and what to eat. I was just told that I shouldn´ t eat.
There is another side of the medal. I know families where children were fed only with “healthy food”, greens, broccoli, fewer proteins. With such eating habits and restrictions, a child will go crazy during his or her young age. They will not be ready for adult life, they will not understand why other people live not like them, eating pizzas and drinking wine? As a result can be anxiety, alcoholism, orthorexia, bulimia and “no friends” life.
- Biological factors
Eating disorders are often inherited biologically and tend to occur in families. A recent study indicates that hereditary biological and genetic factors contribute to 56% of the eating disorder danger. Individuals with a mom or sister with anorexia nervosa are about 12 more probable to develop anorexia and 4 times more likely to develop bulimia than others without a family history of such illnesses. Studies of twins have shown a higher rate of eating disorders when they are identical. If one twin has ED, it is 50% risk that the second twin will have the same disorder too.
Individuals suffering from eating disorders also tend to have higher levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that helps control and regulate stress, and vasopressin, a chemical that is also high in patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which controls the production and release of many of these chemicals, can be one of the causes of eating disorders.
Even in healthy individuals without eating disorders, states of semi-starvation have been shown to trigger obsessive behavior around food, depression, anxiety, and neuroticism that promote a continued cycle of starvation. Additionally, brain imaging studies have shown that people with eating disorders may have altered brain circuitry that contributes to eating disorders.
The summary that I could make here is that we need to teach our children that they have their own personality, that they can reach any of their dreams without extreme diets and restrictions. We need to get more knowledge for the best future of our children. We shouldn´t rush into extremes, saying that “You have to be really thin and lose your weight” or “Be yourself at 100kg and have health problems”. We need to teach our children to balance their lives and help them as friends! Here is one book that helped me even at my age. It is a “must-have” for every parent and their children! Don´t lose your kids!
- Have you ever felt the pressure of the society and media on you or your family members?
- Can you feel that your parents never understood you? Can you remember that you had special eating habits?
- Have you ever had someone with ED within your relatives?