Eating Disorders

By Bri Clark, Olivia Brendel, and Dylan Lett

Eating Disorders- A disease that is a culmination of biological, behavioral and social issues. These disorders such as anorexia and bulimia create an unhealthy relationship with food due to the fear of gaining weight.

Who does it affect? Mainly young girls from the ages 10-18

What is the problem? Society is pushing unrealistic beauty standards through media that creates a constant pressure on young girls so they feel that they need to look like the women and girls in the magazines so that society will accept them

When? Ever since the 1980's, eating disorders have peaked, now in America alone 20 million women and girls are clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder at some point in there life.

Where- United States, but this disease is occurring all over the world. "The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among Non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians in the United States, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among Non-Hispanic Whites." (Hudson et al., 2007; Wade et al., 2011).


"By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat."(Smolak, 2011).

"70% believe encouraging the media and advertisers to use more average sized people in their advertising campaigns would reduce or prevent eating disorders"

"35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. Overweight girls are more likely than normal weight girls to engage in such extreme dieting" (Boutelle, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, &Resnick, 2002; Neumark-Sztainer&Hannan, 2001; Wertheim et al., 2009).

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Solution 1- set regulations for Photoshop.

A major problem we have with women and young girls today is the constant pressure to always look like the girls they see in media, the perfectly proportioned bodies and flawless attributes. Photoshop assists in creating these unrealistic forms of beauty and as a result many girls feel like they need to look those models. Magazine editors are pros at making models, look skinnier, taller and creating a perfect complexion. By setting regulations on Photoshop, not only will it restrict the amount of editing that can be done to a models body but it will also protect others from seeing these images and falsely believing that their is no editing done to these picture. Young girls see the pictures like the ones below, in magazines and adds, there is no disclaimer that they are photoshopped, so these images and others can result in many individuals having self esteem issues, and furthering the unrealistic beauty ideals. We have come up with our ideal photoshop regulations they include, no taking in on someones weight ( picture 3) no lengthening of limbs (picture on- Arms) also only the use of natural effects, saturation, contrasting, etc. with minimal airbrushing. Our biggest goal is if a photo is Photoshopped, then it should say "Photoshopped" on it. Not only does it take away from the lying natural beauty of the picture, but it lets people know that the photo was edited that way and it's not natural. People will know that they don't need to try and be that weight or shape because it's not realistic; it has been edited. "The American Medical Association responded by adopting a new policy in 2011 to discourage using Photoshop excessively due to the established connection between altered/unrealistic images and eating disorders and body image problems among adolescents." Photoshop is not a good solution at all to stop eating disorders. If Photoshop was completely out of the picture, or at least had set regulations, then I'm sure the eating disorder rate, of females trying to starve themselves to look just like the girls they think actually exist, would go down.
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Solution 2- add eating disorder classes in middle school.

Our second solution is an optional class that could be taught by health teachers, that addresses the rising issue of eating disorders. Introducing this at a young age (6th or 7th grade) would allow students have more knowledge of the side affects eating disorders can have on your body. Adding an optional class in middle school that offers young teens advice on anorexia and bulimia, and having self esteem and loving who they are, we believe will lower the rate of eating disorders in adolescents. Many eating disorders start at a young age because girls are just starting to grow into their body and learning who they are as people, and when they see all these "perfect" models in media and especially now with social media it can become overwhelming. "42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991)." The class should offer advice on why the girls should love who they are, and help boost their self confidence. The class would also address how not everyone can be the same and help embrace individuality . Society today is not educated enough on this growing issue. "While most schools have extensive alcohol/drug education programs, very few offer eating disorders education or prevention programs." So why should it be so hard to address eating disorders in school? They are a big problem and should be addressed.
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This magazine shows a model on the front page. According to this photo, it's obvious that it is photo shopped due to the unnatural effects. Literature such as magazines, portray a form of jealousy that lots of female girls go to the extreme of trying to conform to look like the perfect girl.

Women's Health Magazine

"But whatever she ate or drank, Susan* kept it to around 500 calories a day. A year passed, and anytime she tried to eat more, her stomach would clench until she vomited. Her skin turned blotchy, her eyes became sunken, her hair started falling out."

This form of literature represents what females do to get the perfect body. They don't agree with their own body because after everything they have seen in commercials, movies, shows, magazines, etc., they think they're not good enough. They think the "average" body is anorexic. (Skinny.)