Essay on Eating Disorders

Submitted By Jmillz2011
Words: 1200
Pages: 5

Eating disorders are very complex illnesses that are affecting adolescents at increasing rates. It was once thought that these disorders were only found mostly in females however; recent studies prove that there is starting to be an increase in males as well. Researchers feel that this increase is related to sports performance issues. With the social media on the rise this is becoming more of a problem than ever before. TV celebrities seem to look so perfect to these adolescents that they will do what it takes to portray their idols. There are even websites that promote eating disorders and with approximately 49% of teenagers worldwide, having access to the Internet this is very alarming. These “pro” eating disorder websites out number by far the websites set up to help teenagers cope with the disorders. There are three major eating disorder subgroups that I am going to discuss. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height. Persons with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain, even when they are underweight. They may diet or exercise too much, or use other methods to lose weight. Affected adolescents ignore and even lose their hunger sensations. Teen anorexia is most common among teen girls, but about 10 percent of troubled teens with anorexia are boys, and teen boys with eating disorders often go undiagnosed and untreated (Journal of Adolescence Health pg. 496-503). A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported 5-10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30-40% ever fully recovers ( The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15-24 years old. Bulimia is another eating disorder, a serious eating disorder marked by a destructive pattern of binge-eating and recurrent inappropriate behavior to control one's weight. It can occur together with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance dependence, or self-injurious behavior. Binge eating is defined as the consumption of excessively large amounts of food within a short period of time. The food is often sweet, high in calories, and has a texture that makes it easy to eat fast. "Inappropriate compensatory behavior" to control one's weight may include purging behaviors (such as self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas) or non-purging behaviors (such as fasting or excessive exercise). For those who binge eat sometimes any amount of food, even a salad or half an apple, is perceived as a binge and is vomited. Unlike people with anorexia, people with bulimia are usually within a normal weight range. Persons with bulimia -- even those of normal weight -- can severely damage their bodies by frequent binging and purging. Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration can occur and may cause cardiac complications and, occasionally, sudden death. In rare instances, binge eating can cause the stomach to rupture, and purging can result in heart failure due to the loss of vital minerals like potassium (Palla B. Litt Medical complications of eating disorders pg. 613-623). Obesity is the most common nutritional concern in adolescents. The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors. Obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to: •poor eating habits