Eating Disorders have become more frequent for young adults in today’s society. Social media, television, Hollywood, and the fashion industry exaggerate and promote unachievable body standards that create a false hope of reality for many that look up to the A-list celebrities and designers. The severity of eating disorders has been brought to light in recent years but it has been a constant issue throughout universities for a long time. Eating disorders can lead to death and create many other medical problems that may not be fixable. Because students around the ages of 18, the age of a freshman in college, start to develop eating disorders due to the lack of parental supervision and the dislike of their personal features or body type, colleges need to implement a program/series of programs to prevent eating disorders and help students recover from them.
Eating disorders are a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (dictionary). There are many different types and categories of eating disorders. The most common ones include anorexia nervosa, an inadequate food intake leading to a weight that is clearly too low, bulimia, Frequent episodes of consuming very large amounts of food but without behaviors to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, and binge eating disorder, similar to bulimia (NEDA.org). There are many health concerns of eating disorders according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Eating disorders can cause oral health problems such as cavities, changes in the heart muscle that could possibly lead to heart problems, osteoporosis, and organ failure leading to death. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or any other unspecified eating disorder. (NEDA.org) Even though the number of Americans suffering from eating disorders has been lowered since the recognition and creation of prevention organizations, the research department is still underfunded and the amount of college students living with eating disorders continues to grow.
Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives (Neumark-Sztainer, 2005). This is an unhealthy practice for the younger generation. The creation of prevention and recovery programs in schools could be a benefit to controlling these unhealthy behaviors. Of American female college students who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight (Martin, 2010). This proves that the “Hollywood life” plays a significant role in the body insecurities of college students. It is important to teach students to accept their self and their body and it is important to show the realities of bad dieting to prevent future possibilities for eating disorders. According to one study on college student eating disorders, 5% to 20% of college females and 1% to 7% of college males have eating disorders (Johnson & Connors, The Etiology and Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa, 1987). These numbers are growing every year.
Acceptance is the key to preventing eating disorders and helping students recover from eating disorders. Creating a collegiate program throughout the nation could help to lower the statistics. The eating disorder pandemic is a huge problem in our society and it routes back to the A-list celebrities, fashion industry, and the “fabulous Hollywood life”. The unrealistic expectations that are painted throughout America creates insecurities for not just college students but many Americans, young and old alike. Eating disorders primarily affect people in their teens to early twenties and out of those people, up to twenty percent (20%) with serious eating disorders die. It is important for colleges and universities to provide programs to find the basis of eating disorders and to prevent students on their campus from developing them in any way possible. Eating disorder prevention may make the difference between life or death.
Martin, J. B. (2010). The Development of Ideal Body Image Perceptions in the United States.Nutrition Today, 45(3), 98-100. 23 Sept. 2016.
Neumark-Sztainer D., Haines, J., Wall, M., & Eisenberg, M. ( 2007). Why does dieting predict weight gain in adolescents? Findings from project EAT-II: a 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(3), 448-55. 20 Sept. 2016
“ANRED: Eating Disorders Statistics.” Anred. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.
“Get The Facts On Eating Disorders.” National Eating Disorders Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.