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 Hudson High School

 Eating Disorders



 Madame Marie-Claude Dupuis

for the MRE course

Secondary 2



Sean Weeks


Emmanuel Sanders

 13 May 2000

 Definitions and Characteristics


"Of the 50 years of Life magazine covers, though many showed women, only 19 of those were not actresses or models, that is, not there because of their beauty."


          Misuse of food often starts in childhood. Parents will often use food as a punishment or as a reward. This kind of thinking sets the stage for people to restrict, sneak est, rebel by eating, comfort themselves with, or indulge in, the forbidden bad foods.

          There are three main types of eating disorders. These are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Compulsive Overeating. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are two of the most life threatening of all psychiatric illnesses. 5% to 20% of anorexic people will eventually die from the disorder.


          Anorexia is characterized by a significant weight loss resulting from excessive dieting. 97% of Anorexics are woman, and about 3% of men. The reason why is because woman are usually praised for there beauty, while men are praised for their abilities and talents. Anorexics consider themselves to be fat, no matter what their actual weight is. In their attempts to become even thinner, the anorexic will avoid food and try as hard as they can to avoid all calories, which can result in death.

          Anorexics usually strive for perfection. They believe that they must look perfect in order to be perfect. A person with anorexia may also feel the only control they have in their lives is food and weight. If they can't control what is happening around them, they believe they can control their weight. Anorexics usually have low self-esteem and sometimes feel they don't deserve to eat. The anorexics usually deny that anything is wrong. Hunger is always denied. They usually don't want anyone to help them because the idea of therapy is seen only as a way to make them eat. Once they admit they have a problem and want help, they can be treated effectively through a combination of psychological, and nutritional attention.


          Bulimia is characterized by a eating followed by purging to try and get rid of unwanted calories. Bulimics range in the amount of calories they eat before trying to purge themselves. For one person a binge may range from 1000 to 10000 calories, for another, one cookie may be considered a binge. Purging methods usually involve vomiting and laxative abuse. Other forms of purging can involve excessive exercise, fasting, use of diuretics, diet pills and enemas.

          Bulimics are usually people that do not feel secure about their self. They usually strive for the approval of others. They tend to do whatever they can to please others, while hiding their own feelings. Food becomes their only source of comfort. Bulimia also serves as a function for blocking or letting out feelings. Unlike anorexics, bulimics do realize they have a problem and are more likely to seek help.


          Compulsive overeating is characterized by uncontrollable eating and consequent weight gain. Compulsive overeaters use food as a way to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and daily problems. They think that food can block out feelings and emotions. They usually feel out of control and are aware their eating patterns are not normal. Like bulimics, compulsive overeaters do realize they have a problem.

          Compulsive overeating usually starts in early childhood when eating patterns are formed. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, there is a high proportion of male overeaters.

          The more weight that is gained, the harder they try to diet and dieting is usually what leads to the next binge, which can be followed by bad feelings. Dieting and bingeing can go on forever if the emotional reasons for the bingeing is not dealt with.

          In today's society, compulsive overeating is not yet taken seriously enough. Instead of treating the problem some have, they go to diet centers and health places. Like anorexia and bulimia, compulsive overeating is a serious problem and can result in death. With the proper treatment, which should include therapy, medical and nutritional counseling, it can be overcome.


Some Statistics


                    70% to 80% of forth-graders report being on diets.

                  Females account for approximately 97% of Anorexia and Bulimia

                  Only about 3% of males are Anorexic or Bulimic

                  5% to 20% of anorexic people will eventually die from the disorder

                  27% of children and 21% of teens are obese


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