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Does the Need to be Socially Acceptable Lead to Eating Disorders?

Updated on June 19, 2012

There are a few types of eating disorders; such as, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. Anorexia is when someone had excessive food restrictions and has a constant fear of gaining weight. Bulimia is when someone consumes a large amount of food in a short time then tries to rid themselves of it by purging or taking laxatives. Binge eating is similar to bulimia in the fact that one consumes large amounts of food in a short time. However, binge eaters do not purge and they tend to be obese. While these disorders can develop from mental or physical trauma, a lot of the times people begin to restrict food or purge in order to be socially acceptable.

Famous People and Eating Disorders

Lets start with models and celebrities. Once these people are put in the spotlight; whether it be television, magazines, billboards,etc., they become role-models to their viewers. this is known to them which makes them feel that they need to look a certain way. However, I'm sure there are behind the scenes stuff happening where their managers and other people they work for all constantly criticizing how they look. Many famous people have struggled with eating disorders. Many have died from this disease; such as, Karen Carpenter, Terri Schiavo, Christy Henrich, Ann Sexton and Heidi Guenther. Many have also sought help for their disorder and are still recovering; such as, Paula Abdul, Amanda Beard, Christine Alt, Fiona Apple, Victoria Beckham, Kate Beckinsale, Kelly Clarkson, Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga and many more.

Teens tend to have low self-esteem about the way they look and are quickly swayed by celebrities. They crave to look like a "normal" person but they don't realize that it's not "normal" to be that skinny. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 42 percent of girls 6 to 8 years old want to be thinner and 81 percent of 10 year old girls are afraid they will be fat.

Bullying and Eating Disorders

Another issue that adds to eating disorders is bullying. Children of all ages (even adults) are bullied about their appearance. It has been found that nearly one-half of adolescents contribute their eating disorder to being bullied. When children are called "fat" and/or "ugly" their low self-esteem triggers a response to make them change what they are being teased about in order to be accepted.

In conclusion, there are a few ways that parents can help their children's self-esteem so if they are bullied or see what famous people look like they can still feel happy with themselves. Help your child broaden their knowledge of beauty. Other things contribute to beauty other than looks, such as their intelligence, personality and any other trait that makes them unique. Be positive about the way you look and they way your child looks. Don't encourage weight loss or criticize food choices. Enroll them in activities such as sports or dance and feed them healthier meals.


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