Monday, March 3, 2008

More Eating Disorder Sufferers are Children

Children of younger and younger ages are developing eating disorders, and at least one expert is pointing to cultural pressures to be thin.

"We have seen a 300 percent increase in the number of calls from preteen patients," said Amy Gerberry, program director and therapist at Remuda Ranch's children's program. "Eating disorders are increasing rapidly in preteen girls. It's because of our culture's obsession with dieting and thinness."

"Children are being targeted with messages and products promoting diets and body image dissatisfaction," adds Gerberry. "There are more and more sexualized and objectified images of children in the media today than in the past."

Outside of treatment centers, 63% of elementary school teachers now say they are concerned with eating disorders in their classrooms. [Fox News]


CynthiaC said...

Maybe there won't be an obsession if families ate together more often and had more home cooked meals.

Magali & Claire said...

Great point, Cynthia. In fact, research shows you're right. We did a post recently about how family meals lower eating disorder risk.

CEDhelp said...

It's really frightening how few parents truly understand the importance of supplying our kids with a positive, natural body image. It's our job to help children recognize and appreciate their own beauty without seeking alternatives. Here are some ways that we can help kids overcome the pressure to be "perfect"

orb28 said...

This research is so sad, but makes me feel even stronger about girls' empowerment work! I'm Julia, an online editor at New Moon Girl Media and would love to share our ad-free, girl-only magazine and web spaces that are created by and for girls as resources that help girls stay confident and be themselves. (I'm also the creator of a media literacy program that helps to spread body confidence and awareness about commercial imagery.)

Thanks for your good work, Magali and Claire!