The rapid growth in cases of eating disorder in America and most developed countries of alarming concern. These disorders affect male, female and children but it is more prone to women and teenage or adolescent girls. There are many beliefs and myths said about these disorder but they are not factual; for instance, white women are more subjected to these disorders. These disorders are costly to the government both now and in the long run. In this paper we are studying reasons why women are likely to suffer from eating disorder. Women unlike men usually have higher chances of suffering from eating disorders due to a number of reasons. These reasons are the course of this the study.
Recent studies have shown that there are increasing growing cases of eating disorder. Eating disorders can be serious if not treated earlier. It can have very serious consequences like death.the earlier the detection of this disorder the better and the higher the chances of getting treated. This disorder is prone in most developed countries. There are three types of eating disorder, they are anorexia nervosa. This is a situation where the patient has unexpected body weight that is expected for their height and age.ie Body Mass Index (BMI). In most cases the patient is 85% short off his her weight. It can result in the stoppage of menstrual periods in women. The second type is the bulimia nervosa. In this case, the patient usually finds himself/herself eating a large amount of food. He/ she can not control himself/herself from overeating. The last type does not have a specific name but sometimes called EDNOS. It includes mild symptoms of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, and some eating disorders like purging, binge eating. Eating disorders can affect anyone both male and female but it’s more common in females (Q&AED, 2008, p.1).
Cultural and Social Factors
One of the reasons is the issue of culture. Like in most developed countries, beauty is usually associated with thinness. Women usually characterize by the physical attractions they have. Women have always struggled with the idea of the image of the bodies their male counter parts due to the societal expectations and their role in the society. This has enhanced women into obtaining a slim body and looks as per the standards set by the society. This has forced women to take radical actions to make sure that their physical beauty is at par with the society’s expectation. Like in sports, females are subjected to pressure to be thin than their male counterparts. They also get pressure from respective coaches, the media and even from their parents. This is because of the perception that thin bodies will facilitate better performance as compared to fatty bodies. This has caused the problem of body dissatisfaction among women both at adolescence and adulthood (Puput, 2009).
Women are also affected by acculturation. This is the shifting of a society’s norms and values from the original culture to the host culture. This has largely affected women as women from other cultures try meeting the standards of beauty as expected by a particular society. Research has proved that the acculturated women are more susceptible to the eating disorder. This stress can be caused from the pressure from the process of acculturation which can lead to poor eating habits and patterns. Women are likely to assimilate two distinct cultures. In trying to assimilate these two distinct cultures, clash of cultures may arise and this may result to eating disorder (NEDA, 2005, p. 2).
Genetically or Biological Factors
Eating disorders may also influenced by the genetic, society and cultural factors and the stress they impose on women. Media and society have wrongly defined beauty associating it with being thin or skinny. This has put also of pressure on women to try to meet the standards defined by the society and media. Environmental factors can also lead to the development of eating disorder. The type of famines and whether the parents might or is suffering from the disorder can also affect the children. Famines where the mother or sister might have suffered or is suffering from bulimia nervosa, there is a probability that their daughter might also suffer from this disorder (NEDA, 2005, p. 2).
Media and fashion industries have also encouraged the development of this disorder. They use fashion models that are skinny and appear to be unhealthy in advertisements might put pressure on the adolescent girls. Other causes of eating disorders may be genetic or biological factors. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can be passed to our children i.e. they are genetic disorders. These disorders can be caused by abnormal serotonin and dopamine levels. These disorders can also be caused by poor eating habits. These habits can cause obesity or dieting. Another important factor that may cause these disorders is going through events in life such as going through puberty at a very earlier age. Being traumatized in life can also lead to earring disorder like separation of parents, divorce or even loosing a loved one or even rape or sexual abuse. These and stressful things in life or sudden changes in life like getting a new job or school can lead to a development of these disorders (Postnote, 2007, p.2).
Most women who suffer from these disorders always think that appearance usually improves their self-esteem. However, this is not usually the case. They think that any additional weight will lead to critics from other people. Women who have low self-esteem are likely to have eating disorders as they are very sensitive to meeting the societal expectations. This will in turn lead to anxiety and add more pressure to them (Groot, 1992, p.1).
Trying to be a perfectionist or having high ambitions that are not unrealistic can be dangerous as it can lead to the development of these disorders. This unattainable targets leads to depression brings anxiety and also leads to a lower self-esteem. Also, college students may develop poor eating habits due to pressure they experience. The pressure may cause them to either under eat or overeat (S.N.A.C, 2005, p.2).Women may become frustrated if they fail in dieting. Studies have shown that when one diets, there is low calorie in the body. This slows down the rate of metabolism, hence less energy will be utilized and fats will not be burnt down hence will remain stored in the body. This will result in being obese. Therefore too much starvation or dieting can lead to eating disorder like obesity (Infosheet, 2009, p. 2).
The study investigated the reasons as to why women are prone more to eating disorders. Cultural and social factors have been identified to be one of the reasons. This is because of the fact that women tend to comply with the expectation of the society and as a result, may try their level best to meet the standards set by the society. The perception that thin bodies will facilitate better performance as compared to fatty bodies will lead to the women going without food to attain this physical feature. This has caused the problem of body dissatisfaction among women both at adolescence and adulthood.
The study has also identified acculturation in the society. This has largely affected women as women from other cultures try meeting the standards of beauty as expected by a particular society. This can lead to stress due to pressure and as a result, poor eating habits may arise. Eating disorders may also influenced by the genetic, society and cultural factors and the stress they impose on women.
On genetic and biological factors affecting women, the study have hypothesized or concluded that family where the mother or sister might have suffered or is suffering from bulimia nervosa, there is a probability that their daughter might also suffer from this disorder. Media and fashion industries have also encouraged the development of this disorder; as they have set physical features of the body that must be met by women joining such events as fashion shows or models.
Solutions to curbing this disorder requires an intervention by all parties.The most important step in solving this is accepting that there this problem that needs to be solved. May women development this disorder because they are under pressure to control the life they want to live. In it is important that they accept that this eating disorder is out of control and needs profession handling. Governments and parties concerned should step in to provide therapy and support groups and medical treatment as well as hospitalization. They should also provide support groups and therapy for families affected. Education is also an essential step towards curbing this disorder. Women are influenced by the media through advertisements, and fashion images. Mothers are particularly advised not talk bad or criticize their body shape when their children are listening. Parents should also take substantial effort to boost the self-esteem of their children. Men are also advised to encourage women not to slim to look like models in the fashion industry (WH, 2004, p.2). Now that we known the causes of the eating disorder, and know that they are curable especially in the long run, we should apply joint effort in the fight.