Do you know someone who has an eating disorder? Have you seen how damaging they are? Is it possible today’s society has lead to a rise in cases of eating disorders and disorderd eating?
We are surrounded by media. Social networking, newspapers, magazines, Tv, Radio. The goverment is never shy to spread opinions on what we should and should not be eating 5-a-day. Or is it 7? Then there’s that change4life initiative, which is a goverment initiative, using the media to get it’s point across. The Media itself has told many food horror stories The debate between fat and sugar, how excess carbohydrates will make us fat. Contradicting comments on almost everything, it’s all just a little overwhelming! The rise of “Thisperation”. Pro-ana/Pro-mia sites. Vunerable pre-teens and teens have easy access to these sites, day upon day upon day. As a suffer of an eating disorder myself and haqving previously visited these sites I can say that to a pre-disposed mind, there is something about thinspo pictures which are quite enchanting, beautiful. It is also a place people can find friends, for someone with no friends you can see this could cause real problems.
Some say diets don’t work. Some suggest 5:2 or weight watchers. All involve some sort of restriction which can go in either one of to ways and has probably infact lead to an increase in obesity. You say a food is “Bad” you’ll want more of it. You restrict yourself then you want more. Your body craves more. You eat more. The other way restriction can go is leading to an eating disorder, suggesting you have a genetic pre-disposition and you would be surprised by how fast they can take hold.
A huge proportion of people in today’s western world has some form of disordered eating, spurred on by media and goverment. The “fat phobia” many people face. This also discourages people with eating disorders from getting help. They think what they’re doing is normal. The super-skinny celebrities, obsessing over sclothing size and stick thin models. People belive being skinny is right, being skinny is good. There is a commmon association that by being skinny you will be sucsessful. Now you can see how that leads to eating disorders. Right?
Eating disorders are of course an extreme but clearly something has changed to cause the rise. Children as young as 5 even are developing eating disorders. With the increase in media, it would be logical to suggest that is partially a reason for the rise, we are contantly bombarded with health advice, diet tips. Things that not so long ago we were not. It would be logical for the media to be a partial cause. Seeing the effects the media can have, why should they give us diet advice, health tips and all the rest of it? It’s harmful to all, more to some than others.
Going back to the goverment, school curriculums. Teaching children about food and nutrition from a young age. Lat year my brother came home from school one day, decided he couldn’t eat a cake because they are “bad for us.” He was six then! Isn’t is sad that a child who is slim, healthy and eats a balanced diet feels they can’t have a cake because of a lesson at school. We’re constantly reciving lessons of health and nutrition. Actually part of the AQA B1 spec is learning about BMI. Does this not flag up an issue for you? Take a 14/15 year old girl, wants to lose weight and realises according to that BMI chart her BMI is slightly over what is classed as healthy. Mix that with a perfectionistic personality, maybe recently divorced parents or bullying and you have created the perfect confitions for an eating disorder.
I do however realise the opposing veiw and understand it. To me healthy eating is just common sense and I belive all of us have the ability to eat intuitivly, others may struggle. Going back to the goverment, parents may eat unhealthy diets and it is important for the schools to teach children about healthy eating in this case, so they can make good desisions as adults and lead healthy lives. Then there is the issue of doctors If a patient has a weight problem. Either over or underweight then the doctor should work with them on a personal basis to help improve things. The same goes for when a patient is suffering from a condition which could be cured by a change in diet. Doctors should work with the patient on a personal basis, maybe refer them on to a dietistion or a nutritionist. Then there is the issue of the Media. “Supersize vs superskinny” and other such shows can be seen as light entertainment. That is what they are right? They shouldn’t trigger or lead to an eating disorder and people should be responsable enough to make the decision to watch it or not. No ones forced to watch these shows, they shouldn’t be banned just because they have triggered or lead to a few eating disorders. That’s not fair on everyone else.
In conclusion I do not think the media or the goverment should tell us what and what not to eat, and if they do it should be regulated, less contradictary and have more research into whatever is being said. I belive thos because of the effects today’s society can have on innocent indaviduals; doctors however should be allowed to tell us what we should and shouldn’t eat if properly trained in that area. This should only be on a one to one basis if in best intrest of the patient.