Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess with their weight gain. People with anorexia limit the amount of food they eat drastically and can become extremely thin. A person with anorexia sees themselves as an obese individual even if they are skinny. Anorexia nervosa is not about the food the person consumes, but it is a way for the individuals to cope with their emotional problems. Although anorexia can occur in both sexes, it is much more common in females rather than males. Anorexia usually affects the teenagers and young adults. If this disorder goes untreated it can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis, kidney damage, heart problems, and eventually death. Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness with five to twenty percent of people who develop the disease die from it. The exact causes of anorexia, like all other eating disorders are unknown but there are factors that could impact it. These factors include; having an anxiety disorder as a child, having a negative self-image, having eating disorder as a child, and having certain social ideas about health and beauty. A patient with anorexia attends to maintain a strict control over food intake by counting calories exactly. Some may enjoy cooking and serving food but not eating it; they may hide the food and claim that they ate it. Anorexia nervosa can be very difficult to cope with, and early treatment could be effective. The longer this disease goes untreated, the harder it is to eventually overcome.Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height. Anorexia commonly affects women between the ages of 13 and 20. Anorexia causes serious health conditions such as osteoporosis, kidney damage, heart problems, and eventually death. About 10 through 15 percent of all people with anorexia will eventually die from physical or mental complications. Early detection is the best way to battle anorexia nervosa; approximately 60 percent of people with anorexia make a full recovery when detected early (Causes of Anorexia). Anorexia is caused by a fear of gaining weight, obesophobia, where the person has to practice unhealthy dieting habits to maintain this fear. A study found that adolescent girls were more fearful of gaining weight than getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents (Self Image/Media Influences).
Although the causes of anorexia nervosa are unknown, there are many factors that can contribute to anorexia nervosa. An important factor that affects anorexia is social pressure, whether it is by peers or the media. Most female teenagers will develop anorexia nervosa because of body images portrayed by the media and peer pressure.
What is Peer Pressure?
Peer pressure is influence from a members peer group. Whether it is by a boyfriend, peer, coworker, or sibling. When people receive criticism they are at increased risk of a number of mental health issues, including poor body image and eating disorders. Troubling behaviors range from a dirty look when taking a second helping of food at the dinner table to persistent weight-related bullying by one’s peers (Ross, 2012).
How does Peer Pressure affect anorexia?
Peer pressure can also impact teens into becoming anorexic. Bullying is the most common type of peer pressure. Someone may make remarks about another person’s body image or weight and that causes that person to feel dissatisfied with their body. This in turn causes the person to practice unhealthy dieting. This is very common among teens who are constantly being judge based on their looks. In movies, particularly, but also in television shows and the accompanying commercials, women’s and girls’ appearance is frequently commented on: 58 percent of female characters in movies had comments made about their looks, as did 28 percent in television shows and 26 percent of the female models in the accompanying commercials (Body Image & Nutrition). Peer pressure has a major impact on how we look at ourselves; it can alter our behavior and cause us to practice unhealthy ones.
What is Media?
The media is an important aspect of our daily lives. Media is all around us: it includes Television sets, billboards, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. Media also includes social networking sites which most teens nowadays are engaged in. About 95 percent of people own a TV set and watch for an average of 3-4 hours per day. By the end of the last century 50 percent of women read a newspaper each day and nearly half of all girls, from the age of 7 read a girls magazine each week (Jade, 2009). Media is also used to target certain age groups to buy a specific product. In this case media targets teen girls to sell beauty products. During shows that are watched mostly by teen girls 56 percent of commercials are about beauty as a product appeal. Also one in three articles in leading teen magazines contain 50 percent of advertisements focus on appearance. It is everywhere we turn and we face it every day of our lives.
How does Media affect anorexia nervosa?
Everywhere we turn we see models that are extremely underweight. These models are considered the ideal image of beauty. An average US woman is 5’4″ tall weighing about 140 pounds while the average US model is 5’11” and weigh about 117 pounds (Health & Wellness Article, 2000). When teens see these models they desperately want to be like them. According to a study in Pediatrics, about two-thirds of girls in the 5th to 12th grades said that magazine images influence their vision of an ideal body, and about half of the girls said the images made them want to lose weight. Teens become dissatisfied with their bodies; this can explain why 80 percent of US women do not like how they look (Ross, 2012).
On a study done with thirteen year olds found that 53 percent of American girls are unhappy with their bodies, these increases to 78 percent by the time these girls reach the age of seventeen (Body Image & Nutrition). This in turn causes them to become obsess with their weight to match that of the models they see each day. In a survey done by the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute found that 40 percent of girls 9 and 10 years old have tried to lose weight. According to statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association, by the time they reach college, 92 percent of young women have tried to control weight through dieting, and 22 percent often or always diet (Health & Wellness Article, 2000). Gradually these teens develop a drastic fear of gaining weight.
A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. ( 2012, February 13). Retrieved from Pubmed Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001401/
Health & Wellness Article. (2000, July 5). Retrieved from Tree: http://www.tree.com/health/eating-disorders-anorexia-causes.aspx
Anorexia Nervosa Health center. (2011, August 25). Retrieved from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/anorexia-nervosa/anorexia-nervosa-topic-overview
Body Image & Nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved 1 20, 2013, from Teen Health and the Media: http://depts.washington.edu/thmedia/view.cgi?section=bodyimage&page=fastfacts
Causes of Anorexia. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2013, from Eating Disorders mirror mirror: http://www.mirror-mirror.org/causes-of-anorexia.htm
Cemanovic, M. (2006, December 18). The Effects of Media on the Skinny Side of Eating Disorders. Retrieved from Ezine @rticles: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Effects-of-Media-on-the-Skinny-Side-of-Eating-Disorders&id=390528
Gould, B. E., & Dyer, R. M. (2011). Pathophysiology for the Health Professions. In B. E. Gould, & R. M. Dyer, Pathophysiology for the Health Professions (pp. 420-421). Jeanne Olson.
Inge, C. (2010, July 29). Peer Pressure: Eating Disorders. Retrieved from Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/article/peer-pressure-eating-disorders
Jade, D. (2009). THE MEDIA AND EATING DISORDERS. Retrieved from National Centre for Eating Disorders: http://www.eating-disorders.org.uk/media-and-eating-disorders.html
Ross, C. C. (2012, June 1). World of Psychology. Retrieved from PsychCentral: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/02/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies/
Self Image/Media Influences. (n.d.). Retrieved from Just Say YES: http://www.justsayyes.org/topics/self-image-media-influences/
Staff, M. C. (2012, January 5). Anorexia nervosa. Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anorexia/DS00606