Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sharp Increase in Eating Disorders in Older Women

When you think “eating disorders,” what comes to mind? Since we are not involved in a conversation wherein I can hear your response right away, I will tell you what I used to think.

These two words used to conjure up an image of a teenage girl looking at airbrushed pictures of some plastic celebrity, and then making a conscious decision to lose weight by whatever means necessary in order to look more like the women in the magazines. This image, though it is true that the teenage demographic are historically more susceptible to eating disorders, is expanding to include women of all ages.

According to the New York Times, one clinic that treats women with eating disorders reports a 400 percent increase in patients over 40 in the last decade. Although some of this is attributed to the fact that women are waiting to receive help for eating disorders that they develop as teenagers, there are also women who are largely unaffected by eating disorders until they are in their thirties and forties. Pregnant women, women who have just given birth, women suffering from “empty nest syndrome,” and women facing other major life changes are at a higher risk for developing an eating disorder. Although it should go without saying, men also battle eating disorders; in fact, men make up about 10 percent of the eight million individuals battling eating disorders in the United States.

What can we do? There are millions of individuals who silently fight this battle day in and day out, and it is often friends or loved ones who finally convince them to seek professional help. We need to remember that this is not something that only affects teenage girls; we need to reach out to anyone in our lives who we believe may be suffering from an eating disorder. Your support may make all the difference.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, check out these resources.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

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1 comment:

Brwneyedgrl08 said...

One can only question why so many people are being effected by one eating disorder or another. A lot of the problem is that people do not know where to turn, for one reason or another. Either they are scared to talk to someone about their disorder, or they are in denial about the fact that they have one. If you or someone you know is in need of help for an eating disorder, is a great informational site about the different types of eating disorders, their symptoms and causes, treatment options that are available and much more. This is a good resource to take advantage of.