Eating Disorders

What do you think of when you hear those words? Maybe some names of eating disorders, unhealthily skinny people, models, or possibly a close friend. What immediately pops into your head when you think of causes of eating disorders? I bet one is media. (And media is a cause.) That's probably one of the most common explanations, so I'll start with that.

Many people see supermodels' bodies as "perfect" or "ideal." However, the chance of anyone actually being that thin is 1/100. Seems pretty unlikely to me. If you're feeling pressured to look like a typical model, (who has a "normal" body) you shouldn't. They actually weigh more than 20% less than the average person. And good luck on getting as thin as a runway model; the chances of being that thin are less than 1/10. (I have nothing against models, by the way.) I'm not saying this to crush anyone's dreams, but rather to discourage people from feeling the need to be that thin. Isn't it just a little ridiculous, not to mention unhealthy, to strive to be that thin? Especially if doing so is going to cause you to develop an eating disorder. (Here's a good article.)

Another cause? Peer pressure. Maybe bullying too. People just don't think about the effects that the hurtful things they say to others can have.

More causes of eating disorders include major changes or problems that you can't prevent. Many people develop eating disorders because they feel like their body is the one thing they can control. Generally, he/she isn't actually controlling anything. Instead, the eating disorder is actually controlling him/her.

If you haven't heard of men having eating disorders, you're probably confused about why I used "he/she" and "him/her." Only women can have eating disorders, right? WRONG.  At least 25% of people suffering from anorexia or bulimia are males, and at least 40% of binge eaters are males. There are possibly more, but many men do not admit to having an eating disorder because they think of it as a "woman's disease" or fear that they may thought of as homosexual. Even less seek help. As for being thought of as gay, 80% of males with an eating disorder are actually heterosexual. In fact, I think I know more guys who have body image issues than girls. The causes for eating disorders are generally the same regardless of gender. Here's a good article on this subject.

More than 10 million people in U.S. have an eating disorder. There is simply too much emphasis and value put on being thin (abnormally thin at that). Here's some proof.

Do you know anyone with an eating disorder, or have you ever had one yourself? Also, what are your views on the causes of eating disorders?


  1. "More causes of eating disorders include major changes or problems that you can't prevent. Many people develop eating disorders because they feel like their body is the one thing they can control."

    I totally agree, and thank you for espousing this topic. To let you know where I'm coming from, I have two friends from high school who have eating disorders. One developed anorexia after her cousin became very ill with cancer. She ended up in a four day coma. Another developed bulimia after her grandfather became very ill and died. Her sister also had bulimia in high school, and ended up in the hospital for it. She has never gotten treatment or admitted her disease to her parents.

    People often dismiss the issue of eating disorders as being only for women and only for vain people. This shames them into not coming forward and getting the help they need. Also, the hereditary component is not sufficiently researched.

    Luckily my two friends are alive and healthy, and one is studying to become a nurse! I really appreciate your article and keep up the good work!

  2. I'm really sorry to hear about your friends, but I'm glad they're okay now. Part of the reason I wrote this article was my sister, who might have an eating disorder. She told me once that she tries to eat only 500 calories a day, although she denies this whenever I ask her why she hasn't eaten anything all day. She also exercises excessively, which she has told me a few times is because she wants to stay thin, though she also denies this. She hasn't ever fainted or had to go to the hospital, but it still worries me.

    You're right, people do feel too ashamed about getting help, and many are in denial until the problem becomes extremely serious.

    Thanks so much for commenting, it really means a lot to hear some feedback!


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