Friday, January 18, 2008

A Record Number of Middle-Aged Women are Being Treated for Anorexia

Tonight 20/20 airs a report on Sue Harootunian, a 47-year-old woman who has suffered with anorexia for two decades. According to Dr. Susan Ice, the medical director of the Renfrew Center, a residential eating disorders treatment facility, more than 20% of their patients are women over the age of 35.

Some women seeking treatment have been dealing with their illnesses since they were teenagers, but for many others (including Sue), the anorexia onset is in adulthood. In these cases, the disorder is often a means of coping with issues like the stress of marriage and motherhood, divorce or a fear of aging. Anorexia is a complicated illness (read: we're not blaming Trista, y'all), but we do think the ridiculous pressures on women to be slim & trim moms, sexy bombshell wives, and perfect specimens of youthful beauty just might be a contributing factor here. What do you think? [ABC News]

1 comment:

Arlene said...

This, sadly, is no surprise.

If normal weight women in general are invisible, normal weight women over 45 are treated (in retail, in the job market, and in the media) as though as they are already dead -- outta here!

This enforced invisibility alone must come as a life-altering shock for women who have enjoyed decades of acceptable looks.

Worse, most stepped-up "efforts" to hide age are doomed. No amount of aerobics or dieting will be put your waistline back where it was at 25, even if the scale says you're "thin." You can have plastic surgery on your face, with its expense and risks...but what about those neck and hands? Ouch. Not so much.

What would help a lot is a better life for women in the third age of their lives; less age discrimination at work, better retail clothing choices (embroidered bunnies on polyester, anyone? I thought not!) and a willful revolt against the absurd idea that life is about looking 20 til you're dead.