To eat or not to eat?

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Did you know that 5 out of every 100 women have an eating disorder? In a world filled with more than 6 billion people, that is unreasonably high. With the influence of TV, magazines, billboards, and peer pressure, the number of eating disorders throughout the nation are higher than ever. Barely anything has been done about this worldwide problem. If the media would stop encouraging teenagers to look like the unhealthy models they use to advertise, the number of teens with eating disorders could be greatly reduced.

One of the toughest things about being a teenager is the yearning to be accepted. When teens are rejected by their peers, they will sometimes do anything to get the acceptance they crave. When kids feel like they aren’t fitting in because of they way they look, it can warp the way they look at themselves, and they will sometimes develop eating disorders. Most kids with eating disorders are not overweight, but think they are and expect to keep losing weight until their peers accept them. Unfortunately, the disease is more difficult to give up than just that. Rarely will a kid be accepted so easily after they lose some weight. And rarely once you develop bulimia or anorexia will you be able to give it up by yourself. And sometimes they might not want to. In the end, it’s the pressure your peers place on you that can make or break you.

Although your peers may influence you to develop an eating disorder, it is from the media that the need to be thin evolved. Everywhere we look on TV, magazines or billboards we see beautiful, stick thin women . We perceive these women as ‘perfect’ and what everyone should look like. When the children of the world see these people, they think, ‘This is what I need to look like.’ They grow up with these thoughts in their minds, then realize that it’s near impossible to look like the women in the magazines. There are always a couple who will do whatever it takes to lose weight and feel accepted, and that can quickly turn deadly. Some people think that it isn’t the medias fault. They believe it’s the person’s fault for being so vulnerable. But if the media wasn’t planting these ideas of the ‘perfect’ person in kid’s minds, then this problem would not exist.

Not only are eating disorders affecting teenage girls, but this problem is also touching boys. Bulimia and anorexia are most common in girls ages 13-25, but anyone can develop these diseases, male or female. More than 10% of girls and 3% of boys binge and purge at least once a week. The influence of the media and peers may bring on eating disorders for both genders, but those aren’t the only things. Another cause of eating disorders is depression. When people become depressed, they feel a need to numb their pain and loneliness. Usually, it is something self-destructive such as anorexia, or bulimia. Depressed people often develop these disorders to feel accepted. The sad thing is, 1 in 10 eating disorder cases end in death from starvation, suicide, or medical complications.

Teenagers develop eating disorders all the time, and in many cases, end their lives as a result. Having an eating disorder is not only a sickness, but also an addiction. It is extremely difficult to cure an eating disorder so the best we can do is try to prevent them from happening in the first place. One way we can do this is by writing letters and e-mails to magazines and companies that advertise using unhealthy looking women. We can also help by accepting our peers the way they are and not pressuring them to look differently. Although eating disorders are a big problem among the youth of our nation, if we stand together, we can not only prevent many eating disorders, but many deaths also.





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TheUnknownGuest said...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm
Wonderfully beautiful! I agree 100%!!
 
BaiLiHua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 6:55 pm
This is a marvelous piece and I hope to find it in the magazine. Eating disorders are horrendous (I know, as a former anorexic)! Full bodies are every bit as lovely!
 
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