Adolescence and Eating Disorders Since the late twentieth century the number of people suffering from eating disorders has greatly increased. The most common among these is anorexia nervosa which is a psychological eating disorder. This disorder is noticed in people of all age groups, all races and it affects both the sexes. Though this disorder is found in all races but its incidence amongst the whites is higher as compared to other races. It is more commonly seen in girls but about ten percent of the cases are boys. It is also seen in all age groups starting from the age of eight years and there have been cases reported of 60 year old people suffering from it. But a higher incidence is reported in teenagers. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with the highest mortality rate compared to any other psychological disorder that is five to twenty percent of the sufferers die because of the condition (Schoemaker, 2004). Anorexia nervosa has a higher incidence among girls. Media, family and peer pressure are the causes which contribute towards this disease. A person suffering from this condition eats less checking upon the calories in their food again and again. They have a tendency to check their weight after short intervals. The patients become dehydrated and malnourished. Hence, anorexia nervosa is a serious condition which needs immediate medical help because it can greatly affect the physical condition of the body as well as the mental wellness of the patient (Blackwell 2007). Adolescence is a developing stage of life in which the adolescent may go through a normal life or he might undergo eating disorders. It is in this stage that the adolescents begin to develop their views about life and some settle with the view that being thin is ‘cool’. Researchers in the University of Middletown found that young males were also affected these days by habits of weight control which may lead to disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. White female adolescents are believed to be practicing more of these habits as put forward by the research. It is believed that weight control methods have increased amongst male adolescents because of the idealistic beliefs of the society about thinness. The study suggested that culture and fashion also affects the perspectives of health and wellbeing in an adolescent (Blackwell 2007). Adolescence is a period of development as put down by an article by Paus. It is during adolescence that the brain develops such that the individual develops maturity and views in accordance to the stages of development. It is during these developmental stages that eating disorders such as anorexia can arise because of the easy incorporation of ideas in these stages. It is not only the development of brain in adolescence but also the development of cognitive abilities during these years which affects the psychological aspects of an individual. Thus it can be said that adolescence is a time period in which the person can either develop some disorder or can get through it. Anorexia Nervosa is one disorder which can occur in these times of adolescence (Steinberg 2005; Hoek and Hoeken 2003).
Eating Disorders Eating disorders have become very common these days. Eating disorders have been reported in the United States of America from the late twentieth century and their incidence has greatly increased now. People from all socioeconomic classes, all age groups and both the sexes are involved in these disorders. A healthy and balanced diet is very necessary for leading a normal and proper life (Herzog 1985). Nutrition imbalance can be a cause of many diseases in the short term and long term both. Eating disorders are directly related to harmful diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis and other heart diseases. Not only this, the eating disorders can also have a direct effect on the oral health of an individual. Some of the important eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia