Friday, April 25, 2008

Is it Possible to Define "Disordered Eating" in a 4-Minute Clip? The Today Show Tried

Talking about disordered eating is challenging, because it encompasses such a broad range of behaviors that are so "normal" and commonplace to so many women (3 out of 4 women are disordered eaters according to the Self study). Could you make the case that the way most women relate to food and weight is disordered, and do that convincingly in a morning show segment? It's no easy task. Tell us what you think of this interview.


Elaine Vigneault said...

Well, I think that Self study is flawed. For one, it relies on self-reporting and people notoriously lie or make mistakes on surveys. Second, the sample is Self readers, to they are not necessarily average. Third, I looked at the questions, and a few were tricky - they were worded poorly and could have resulted in over or under results.

That said, I think many women do have issues with food and do have "disordered eating." I don't think it can be discussed in only 4 minutes. There are just way too many issues /too much diversity.

Magali & Claire said...

Hi Elaine,
Good point about the difficulty of representing the diversity of people who have disordered eating behaviors (and the range of those behaviors). It's difficult to do, especially when you only have a few minutes and only one guest who is speaking as the disordered eater. Perhaps this would have been more effective if they had a panel of women discussing the issue.

One correction about the study itself. We got a few questions about the sample in our first post, so we followed up with Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. (lead researcher on the study) to clarify. She told us that the sample was not Self readers. The online survey was conducted by an independent company and neither Self nor UNC were mentioned in the survey.

Thanks for your comment!

Dr. Melissa Smith said...

The list of "tips" presented to help resolve disordered eating struck me as a little bit funny - another set of rules to apply instead of the set of rules by which disordered eaters are already playing. But Dr. Cynthia Bulik's comments toward the end of the interview struck me as refreshingly feminist and therefore awesome. I agree wholeheartedly that disordered thinking around shape, body fat, and food is another trick of patriarchy to keep women from focussing on more empowering issues.