Eating Disorders/ Eating Disorders Amoung Teens term paper 6732

Eating Disorders term papers
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Eating Disorders have become a serious issue in the past twenty-five years. Many people have been diagnosed for having an eating disorder. More teens out of any other age group suffer from it. Sports, peer-pressure, and low self-esteem can cause teens to be driven to eating disorders.

Anorexia and Bulimia are the two main types of eating disorders. Anorexia is the self-starving behavior that can lead to severe health problems and even death. Bulimia is when a binge/purge cycle is used or laxatives are used at an excessive amount. Anorexia and bulimia affect a person’s thoughts and feelings as well as his or her body (Erlanger 18).

Anorectics starve themselves to lose weight. Experts have described how anorectics seem incapable of noticing that they have lost weight. They might loss fifty pounds and still think they are to fat. They eat very little, if any at all, but most of them claim that they do not get hungry. Most of them also exercise constantly as well as not eating. It is a very dangerous disease. About one out of every ten victims of anorexia result in death (Internet site).

Bulimia is also a very sever eating disorder. About half of the victims of anorexia victims also suffer from bulimia (Internet site). Most bulimics use the binge and purge cycle and/or excessive laxatives. Bulimics first binge, which is eating as much food as they want at one time. In fact, bulimics take in around


3,400 (sometimes-even close to 5,000) calories each time they binge. The normal adult takes in around 2,500 calories a day (Epstien 67). After the binge is the purge. They either make themselves vomit or take laxatives. Many health problems can occur to a result of bulimia. The vomiting causes sores in the mouth an eventually rots teeth. Vomiting and use of laxatives create digestive disturbances or muscle spasms in the hands and feet and because they take in so much food their abdominal muscles may be stretched, producing a bloated look (Erlangler 62).

Sports are one of the factors that lead to eating disorders. Gymnast and dancers have to maintain a small and skinny frame. Wrestlers also suffer from eating disorders. They try to maintain or loose weight to stay in a weight class. There are many other sports where athletes have eating disorders. Some examples are track, swimming, cross country, youth football and other weight class sports. According to a Sports Illustrated article in January 22 issue, a recent anonymous survey of college Division I athletes was taken. It included 883 males and 562 females, and revealed that fifty-eight percent of the women and thirty-eight percent of the men had eating disorders. “I think the whole issue of nutrition and eating patterns, it would be fair to say, is a major concern among athletes” stated the NCAA director of sports sciences.

Peer pressure also has a major role in teen eating disorders. Today’s society calls for a woman to be real skinny and a man to be thin and strong. Family’s role in the development in eating disorders is a major one. The majority


of teenagers with eating disorders come from a middle-class or an upper-class family (Claypool and Nelsen 46).

Peers also put a major strain on being thin. Ever teenager wants to fit in the crowd. The models today also make the wrong impression on today’s youth. The average model ways less then the recommended body weight, by at least 10 percent (Earhart: interview).

Low self-esteem causes many teens to be driven to eating disorders. Low self-esteem is when a person with an eating disorder can’t be happy with anything they do. They must be perfect and praised by other people (Epstein 77). Sports Illustrated wrote, “It’s more than wanting to be thin, it all boils down to low self-esteem”.

Being overweight is hard to cope with in this day an age. Many teens get very depressed when they are overweight because people tease them and they can’t fit in with the crowd. Sometimes even if a teenager is not overweight, they feel they must maintain their body size so they turn to eating disorders. A study was done on teenage girls and it found that fifty-five percent thought that they were to fat but truly only seventeen percent were actually overweight (46). Low self-esteem is one of the main causes a person turns to an eating disorder. It is also the easiest one to get help for.

Eating disorders are a major problem in the U.S today. They say that about one out of every one-hounded people has suffered an eating disorder (Internet-site). It is very dangerous to a person’s health and may even cause death. It is a treatable disease and once detected help should be sought right away.


In order to stop eating disorders, coaches should be supportive to athletes and not let them have an eating disorder. Model agencies should let normal women model and not women that are under the healthy weight. Family and peers need to surrport people with weight problems and not make them feel guilty about how they look. Until this society can accept the fact that everyone is different, teenagers will always have eating disorders!


Claypool, Jane / Nelson, Cheryl D. Food Trips and Traps: Coping with Eating Disorders. London: A Grolier Company, 1983

Earhart, Elizabeth. Personal Interview: March 28, 2000 @ 4:15p.m.

Epstein, Rachel. Eating Habits and Disorders. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.

Erlanger, Ellen. Eating Disorders: A Question and Answer Book about Anorexia. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1988.

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Word Count: 873


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