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Eating Disorders

February 10, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 6
Is societal pressure to be thin to blame?
By Pamela M. Prah

Introduction

Actress Lindsay Lohan was quoted recently as saying she had an eating disorder, but she later claimed Vanity Fair magazine misquoted her. Lohan and other super-thin celebrities are often pictured as “thin-spirations” on eating-disorder Web sites.  (AP Photo/Chris Polk)
Actress Lindsay Lohan was quoted recently as saying she had an eating disorder, but she later claimed Vanity Fair magazine misquoted her. Lohan and other super-thin celebrities are often pictured as “thin-spirations” on eating-disorder Web sites. (AP Photo/Chris Polk)

Tabloids and TV entertainment shows are full of gossipy reports about young, pencil-thin Hollywood actresses who might be anorexic or bulimic. Eating disorders, however, are far from glamorous. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Up to 35 million Americans have an eating disorder. Moreover, contrary to the old stereotype, overachieving white girls from affluent families are not the only victims. Also afflicted are men, middle-aged women, African-Americans and children as young as 8. Many Americans blame the nation's obsession with appearances for causing eating disorders, but genetics and brain chemistry also play roles. Public-health experts say Web sites that give tips on hiding eating disorders should be closed down, while patients' advocates are pushing Congress to require insurers to cover more of the costs of treatment and to make eating disorders a national priority — just like obesity.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Nutrition and Health
Oct. 01, 2010  Preventing Obesity
Apr. 07, 2006  Rising Health Costs
Feb. 10, 2006  Eating DisordersUpdated
Sep. 03, 2004  Dietary Supplements
Jan. 31, 2003  Obesity Epidemic
Feb. 23, 2001  Diet and Health
Jan. 15, 1999  Obesity and Health
Sep. 26, 1997  Youth Fitness
Apr. 14, 1995  Dieting and Health
Dec. 18, 1992  Eating Disorders
Nov. 06, 1992  Physical Fitness
Jul. 31, 1992  Infant Mortality
Oct. 25, 1991  World Hunger
Mar. 16, 1990  Public-Health Campaigns: Do They Go Too Far?
Apr. 29, 1988  How America Eats
Sep. 06, 1985  Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders
May 18, 1984  Dining in America
Aug. 26, 1983  Staying Healthy
Nov. 19, 1982  Weight Control: A National Obsession
Oct. 17, 1980  Caffeine Controversy
Apr. 14, 1978  Physical Fitness Boom
Jun. 17, 1977  Obesity and Health
Feb. 22, 1974  Heart Research
Aug. 01, 1973  Nutrition in America
Dec. 02, 1970  Infant Health
Nov. 15, 1967  Overweight and Health
Aug. 10, 1966  Dental Health
Jul. 13, 1966  Prolongation of Life
May 09, 1962  Outdoor Recreation
Nov. 26, 1958  Dieting and Health
Jul. 13, 1949  Recreation for Millions
May 13, 1941  Nutrition and National Health
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Mental Health
Obesity and Weight Control
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