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Myriam Hernandez

Anorexia has been a problem in the United States since around 1690.
Though it was never really classified as its own disease. It was not until
around 1870 that it finally got recognized as a disease. Though it was
recognized as a problem it was not publicized until almost one hundred years
later. Around 1974 America had stories in the media about young girls not
eating or refusing to eat. This has become a colossal problem in America.
Problems such as 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls wanting to be thin (Collins, 1991).
These are girls that are supposed to be thinking about what kind of cartoon
they are going to watch when they get home. Not what meal they are going
to skip to look like the lady on media.
When most people think of anorexia or anorexia nervosa people think
that it's not a problem because they think it's a life style. As some polls and
comment blogs online indicate that most people have no pity, and are
genuinely angry at people with this disease. The people write some hurtful
and just untruthful things. For example one of the commenters wrote “…it's
not a mental disease…I don't get why you just can't eat.” One also wrote “I
have not pity for you if you “think” you have a disease that could be solved
with a trip to McDonald's…all you people just want to cause harm to
yourselves…don't say you have a disease because you don't.” People replied
to their comments saying that those people had not done any research and

that the person should not say anything if they were going to have an open
mouth and a closed mind.
Anorexia is a very serious mental illness that most people do not
understand and/or they do not know the facts. Such as “1 in 5 women
struggles with an eating disorder or disordered eating.”(NIMH guide). Also
that 10% - 15% of people with eating disorders are male, and the rest of the
90% - 85% are women between the ages of 12 – 25(Carlat 1997). The most
shocking ones were “…over half the females between the ages of 18 – 25
would rather get hit with a bus than be fat…” (Gaesser, 1991). Also that 81%
of 10 year olds are afraid of getting fat, and that 51% of 9 – 10 year old feel
better when on a diet (Zunino, Girl Power).
“Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million
individuals worldwide” ( 2002). The small percentage of people
not diagnostic with an eating disorder display highly disordered attitude with
eating and behavioral eating. Since people do not really understand this
disease and people do not even consider it a mental illness. It is really
difficult to know when and even if someone has it. Some people who do think
it is a disease would argue and say that their 8 year old and 15 year old
daughters do not have a problem, and that only older women could even be
considered to have anorexia. Though what the people do not know is that
Time Magazine reports that 80% of all children have been on a diet by the
time that they have reached the fourth grade. Or that “anorexia is the 3rd

most common chronic illness among adolescents” (Eating Disorder
Information Sheet, 2000.).
Many people have gone through it alone and they do not even known
what is going on in their minds. All they know is that everyone will love them
if they lose weight. No one sees anything wrong with them because they do
not really see any physical damage at first. What people do not know is that
5-10% of people with anorexia die within 10 years after contracting the
disease, and 18-20% of people with anorexia will be dead after 20 years.
They believe the girl or boy will grow out of it or that they will eventually eat.
What most people do not know is that patients without treatment, around
20% of them die, if they receive treatment that number drops to 2-3%.
Seeking treatment is the best thing for anyone with this disease to do,
but an average treatment day can range from $500 to $2,800, and an
average month could cost up to $30,000. Most patients are recommended to
have a 3 to 6 month treatment. These facts can show that most patients
want help, but they are just not able to afford the help they need. Anorexia
can be found in 1 of every 200 women. Meaning that on a planet with 7
billion people around 35 million male and females have this mental illness,
and only 4 million of them are getting treatment. As a visual the Rice Eccles
stadium can hold 45,017 people. So that would be about 777 stadiums to
hold the people with this illness.
This serious mental illness makes you feel alone, hated, unwanted and
you find yourself lost on who you really are. The fact that some girls do not

even see anything wrong with what they are doing makes matters worse.
They tell their parents, colleague, and friends that they are dieting and trying
to lose a few pounds. In this day in age everyone is trying everything and
anything to lose weight and/or to look great. Nowadays people want the
results fast and they want to know that what they are doing is working. So
most people go to extreme measures to lost weight such as skipping a few or
all their meals and eating only about ¼ of what a person should really be
The public needs to changes its views on what is average or good
looking, hot, sexy, beautiful, etc. In mid-evil times if you weighed 110 pounds
you were considered unhealthy and ugly, but now it is beautiful and
everyone’s goal. The media should show a more variety of people in ads,
movies, magazines, etc. for example when you look at fashion shows what
you will mainly see is tall, white, skinny girls. If they expand their ads they
can expand their market. So if fashion designers advertised thicker women or
plus size of all ethnics more women would feel a connection with their
clothing and want to buy it therefore expending their audience.

Work cited
American Psychiatric Association (1993), “Practice Guidelines for Eating
Disorders.” American
Journal of Psychiatry, 150 (2), pp 212-228.
ANAD Ten Year Study. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and
Associated Disorders.
Carlat, D.J. Camargo. Review of Bulimia in Males. American Journal of
Psychiatry, 154, 1997
Collins M.E. (1991) Body figure and preferences among pre-adolescent
children. International
Journal of Eating Disorders, 199-208.
Gaesser, G. (1996), Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your
Health. New York:
Fawcett Columbine.
Girl Power!, A public education program of the US Department of Health and
Human Services.
Natalia Zunino, Ph.D, of American Anorexia and Bulimia Association,
Mellin LM, Irwin CE & Scully S: Disordered eating characteristics in girls: A
survey of middle class
children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1992; 92:851-53.

Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152(7), 10731074.
National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) guide, Eating Disorders: Facts
about Eating

Disorders and the Search for Solutions

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Center for
Mental Health
Services, offices of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, "Eating Disorders 101
Guide: A Summary
Of Issues, Statistics and Resources," published September 2002,
revised October 2003,