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EATING DISORDERS. FitzGerald Health 101. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. Dieting?! 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).

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eating disorders


FitzGerald Health 101




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).

Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet

(Neumark-Sztainer, 2005).

91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, 22% dieted “often” or “always” (Kurth et al., 1995).

95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Grodstein, et al., 1996).

35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders (Shisslak & Crago, 1995).

25% of American men and 45% of American women are on a diet on any given day (Smolak, 1996).

the diet and weight loss industry
The Diet and Weight Loss Industry

Americans spend over $40 billion on dieting and diet-related products each year

models as our role models
Models as our role-models…
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak, 1996).
young children affected
Young Children affected!
  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner (Collins, 1991).
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991).
  • 46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets (Gustafson-Larson & Terry, 1992).


  • Because of the secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported.
  • It has been shown that 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (Smolak, 1996).
  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest premature fatality rate of any mental illness (Sullivan, 1995).
  • For females between fifteen to twenty-four years old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is twelve times higher than the death rate of ALL other causes of death (Sullivan, 1995).
  • Only 6% of people with bulimia receive mental health care and only one-third of people with anorexia receive mental health care.
  • The majority of people with severe eating disorders do not receive adequate care.

Did you know?

8,000,000 or more people in the United States have an eating disorder.

90% are women.

Victims may be rich or poor.

Eating disorders usually start in the teens but may begin as early as age 8.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person refuses to stay at even the minimum body weight considered normal for their age and height. Persons with this disorder may have an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted body image. Inadequate eating or excessive exercising results in severe weight loss.

Lanugo refers to hair that grows on the body in an attempt to insulate the skin because of lack of fat.

Lanugo is also a common symptom of serious anorexia nervosa, as the body attempts to insulate itself as body fat is lost.[

distorted body image
Distorted Body Image

pro ana websites

In today's modern, high-tech world, it has become increasingly important to recognize all of the different possibilities that are made available on the Internet. The Internet has opened up lines of communication for business, pleasure, medicine, sports and even support-groups for commonalities ranging from depression and over-eating to alcohol abuse. However, the positive outcomes of these new forms of communication, which have been made readily available over the Internet, are being drowned by the ever-growing negative support-groups that are popping up exponentially. Such support-groups, which work against recovery, health, and wellbeing, include pro-anorexia nervosa websites and pro-eating disorder Myspace profiles. The approximately 400 pro-anorexia websites, or "pro-ana " sites, as the virtual phenomenon has been lovingly named by the makers and viewers of the sites, are Internet websites dedicated to promoting pro-eating disorder ideals, teaching others about how to achieve perilous levels of thinness and arguing that eating disorders are lifestyle choices rather than the diseases they really are (Collins, 2004), (Song, 2005).


"Thin Commandments" read as follows,If you aren't thin, you're ugly. Being thin is way more important than being healthy. You must do anything to make yourself look thinner. Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty. Thou shall not eat fattening foods without punishing yourself accordingly. Thou shall always count calories. The scale is everything. Losing=Life, Gaining=Death. You must become thin. Being thin and perfect are signs of true determination.


Bulimia is an illness defined by food binges, or recurrent episodes of significant overeating, that are accompanied by a sense of loss of control. The affected person then uses various methods -- such as vomiting or laxative abuse -- to prevent weight gain.


3 of the Spice Girls had eating disorder problems (Geri, Mel C, and Victoria!).

I found this quote from Geri:

"I can honestly tell you from personal experience, that worrying about an eating disorder really can get you down. There's nothing to be ashamed about. You'll be amazed at the difference it'll make to your whole life if you tell someone you trust. There are lots of people who want to help and you really CAN'T fight this one on your own. It might be a hard decision to make, to tell people and to seek help but, trust me it's nowhere as hard as trying to deal with it on your own."

Princess Diana suffered from Bulimia. I found this quote from her: "I had bulimia for a number of years. And that's like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don't think you're worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day - some do it more - and it gives you a feeling of comfort. It's like having a pair of arms around you, but it's temporarily, temporary. Then you're disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again. And it's a repetitive pattern, which is very destructive to yourself."


Elton John suffered from bulimia as well as chewing/spitting!

Alanis Morrisette suffered from anorexia and bulimia in her teens.

Sharron Osbourn suffered from bulimia for 35 years, and continues to!

Lindsay Lohan suffered from a bout of bulimia.

Britney Spears is rumored to have suffered from bulimia since the age of 14.

Kelly Clarkson suffered from Bulimia for 6 months.

Jane Fonda battled Bulimia and Anorexia for 30 years!


The Female Athlete Triad:

Elite gymnasts and other female athletes face an increased risk of injury and disability because of the “female athlete triad.” Here’s what happens:

there is help
There is HELP!

ANAD is the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

If you know someone struggling with an eating disorder…get them help ASAP! The longer a person waits to get treatment, the more difficult it will be to overcome.