Much to our perceived attention is the idealised image that most aspire to have. In attempting to achieve such a look involves drastic measures for some and possibly fatal. There is ample of evidence to suggest that such measures revolve around an individual’s eating habits thus leading to unhealthy disordered eating patterns. Eating disorders refer to abnormal eating habits characterised by excessive or insufficient intake of food and develop from a number of interrelated issues. Much of the research into eating disorders has focused particularly on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and its developmental causes. Anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder characterised by delusions of being overweight resulting in conspicuous distortion of body image. Bulimia nervosa, on the other hand, involves excessive binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting to obviate weight gain. Both anorexic and bulimic individuals have a strong tendency to overestimate and exaggerate their body sizes to a high degree than average individuals. In general, research indicates a substantial change in the population’s outlook on body image with thin being the ideal figure and a measure of one’s worth. This enduring tendency to conform to the ultra-thin unrealistic image has been substantiated as potentially threatening to most women with statistics revealing a 90-95% increase in the prevalence of eating disorders amongst women (Hesse- Biber et al., 2006 journal 3). This steady increase in eating disorders has questioned researchers to re-think its causes to its roots.
This essay in essence will consider the factors associated with the onset and maintenance of eating disorders among both men and women
The impact of the media in recent years has been great and far-reaching in creating a perceived ideal body image, which women have been aspiring to replicate. It has been a portal for women and even men, to see a certain type of look or body shape, and see it being praised and admired, causing one to wish to attain the same look as it has been viewed so positively.
Living in such an image conscious culture, which is deeply-embedded in those who wish to conform to it, has led to many walking a thin line in attempting to reach the ‘perfect’ weight. Statistics indicate that 20% of women aged 12-30 suffer from a so-called body-dissatisfaction disorder which has become a major source of concern for them. However, the question does arise about whether who is to blame. The media is0 considered to account largely for the increased pervasiveness of eating disorders, but is it solely responsible?
Research conducted in this area has come to recognise that the most vulnerable to mass media exposure are women. Whilst predominantly affecting females, the phenomenon of eating disorders is becoming prevalent within diverse groups affecting not only adults and females but worryingly the youth and males as well. It has somewhat identified a...