Too Skinny or Too Fat? Start of paper

November 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April Mitchell

English 202

Heather Powers

1 Oct. 2011

 Too Skinny or Too Fat

Did you know that up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, either anorexia a nervosa or bulimia, in the United States and that 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25? What really is an eating disorder though? An eating disorder can be defined as an obsession with food and weight that harms a person’s well-being. Although we all worry about our weight sometimes, people who have an eating disorder go to extremes to keep from gaining weight. There are 2 main eating disorders which are very common in the world and they are anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Anorexia nervosa is an illness that usually occurs in teenage girls, but it also can occur in teenage boys, and in adult women and men. People who have anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They don’t want to eat, and they are afraid of gaining weight. They constantly worry about how many calories they take in or how much fat is in their food. The average age for the onset of anorexia used to be 13 to 17 but recent research shows that it is now 9 to 12, and even children as young as 7 have been diagnosed, says Abigail Natenshon, a psychotherapist and author of “When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder.” For example, a 7 year old announces that she’s become a vegetarian because she loves animals. Sounds normal right? But then she starts eating less and less of her food. When her parents bring her into treatment, she is emaciated but pinches a tiny amount of flesh between her thumb and forefinger to illustrate “how fat” she really is. She is a full-blown anorexic at 7 years old!

Bulimia, on the other hand, is eating a lot of food at once, called bingeing, and then throwing up or using laxatives to remove the food from the body which is called purging. After a binge, some bulimics don’t eat or over exercise to keep them from gaining weight. An example of bulimia is an 8 year old whose parents are involved in a very messy divorce is frequently too upset to eat? The less she eats the more concerned her parents become about her health. Soon the fighting virtually stops, transformed into a shared fear for their daughter. The family dynamic has shifted away from the divorce, and her parents have inadvertently reinforced the girl’s eating disorder.”  Stories like this alarm you don’t they? When I first read both of these stories about children as young as 7 and 8 with anorexia or bulimia, I didn’t know what to think. I was overcome with a mixture of feelings; including being sad, mad, and worried, but this lead me to think that if children as young as these two girls are facing this difficult problem, how are college aged students facing and handling this difficult problem since eating disorders are very common amongst college aged students?

Even though eating disorders affect people of all ages, it is especially prominent among college students. However, eating disorders among college students are primarily seen in college aged woman. In a survey given to college aged woman, 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique. Don’t get me wrong though, eating disorders are seen among college males, just fewer numbers of males have eating disorders. The Massachusetts Eating Disorders Association cites the following statistics on college student eating disorders stating that 40% of female college students have eating disorders and 91% of female college students have attempted to control their weight through dieting. Startling numbers don’t you think since they are so high?

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