Eating Disorders Essay Example
Depression, anxiety, air pollution, and STDs are all public health issues, but what about those who have uncontrollable fears and addictions to food? There are multiple different types of eating disorders, including Bulimia, Anorexia Nervosa, and BED. Eating disorders are not only a mental illness, but a physical illness as well, and they deserve to be treated with urgency and preventative measures instead of being swept under the rug.
In America, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at one point or another. Females of adolescence make up the vulnerable group for eating disorders and if they aren’t treated correctly their disorder can carry over into adulthood. The question then becomes: What causes people to be more at risk for these kinds of disorders? The answer to this question is in the biological, psychological, and social factors. Biological factors for eating disorders include but are not limited to being related to someone with an eating disorder or other mental illness, having a history of intense dieting, or being in a caloric deficit for an extended period of time. The most weighted psychological determinant for an eating disorder is the idea that there is a perfect body and that one’s self is not nearly that perfect. Lastly, society plays a huge role in who is more likely to develop eating disorders. Society (social determinants) has portrayed an ideal body image through social media, television, or magazines; this body is regularly unattainable, which leads to obscured expectations for the male and female physique. People want to be like the models or celebrities they look up to and as a result, they restrict calories or binge to cope with the stress from lack of perfection. Past abuse, bullying, and loneliness are all social factors that can too lead to increased risk of developing an eating disorder.
If knowing that everyone is at risk for an eating disorder wasn’t enough to convince people to pay attention to them, maybe the economic factors will. Eating related illnesses have the highest levels of medical and social disability compared to other psychiatric disorders. If eating disorders can lead to osteoporosis, low blood pressure, kidney failure, type 2 diabetes, and more, then hospitals are going to have to make room for more patients and be able to fiscally provide for them. The money it takes to treat people won’t grow on trees but will come out of the working man's pocket. Even private owned hospitals that don’t get any money from the government will need to be paid for through raised insurance rates. All the treatments, whether it be for the disorder or another illness that develops from it, must be compensated for.
There needs to be feasible goals that tell the 35-57% of teenage girls that they do not have to participate in FAD diets, take weight loss pills, or practice purging. Prevention is key in getting rid of a problem all together. There are many different types of intervention and implementation programs to try and decrease the occurrence of disordered eating. Primary implementation is trying to prevent the problem before there are signs or symptoms; it can be done through education or legal action. Secondary implementation can be done when someone is at risk for the illness, but hasn’t yet developed it. Tertiary implementation is the final type of intervention and it occurs when someone has developed symptoms of the illness, but the effects are not irreversible.
The problem with eating disorders can be solved through increased education in public and private schools as well as social media intervention. Educating the youth makes them more aware of the illness and in return they can create healthy habits to avoid developing the illness. Social media standards have created unrealistic body images and an intervention promoting what a ‘normal body’ looks like can debunk the thought that there is a ‘perfect body’. Creating awareness and realistic standards for people can decrease many cases of the illness that are caused by ignorance and image stigma.
Mental illness and physical illness are of equal importance. Whether experiencing illness on a mental or physical level, it is vital that it is taken seriously, and proper treatment is provided for everyone. Eating disorders involve both the mind and the body and should not be treated on lightly. They are a huge problem for public health because they affect people of all walks of life and of all ages, so let’s treat them like the big deal that they are.
“Risk Factors.” National Eating Disorders Association, 3 Aug. 2018, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/risk-factors.
“Statistics & Research on Eating Disorders.” National Eating Disorders Association, 24 Apr. 2019, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-research-eating-disorders.
“What Are Eating Disorders?” National Eating Disorders Association, 26 June 2019, www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-are-eating-disorders.
“Why Are Eating Disorders Dangerous?” Kelty Eating Disorders, keltyeatingdisorders.ca/generalinformation/why-are-eating-disorders-dangerous/.