Eating disorder behaviors particularly endanger the lives of overweight teens who don’t fit the stereotypical image of an already thin person wasting away to skin and bones.
In high schools, 55 percent of females and 30 percent of males fast; take diuretics, laxatives, and diet pills; binge eat; and vomit. These eating disorder behaviors particularly endanger the lives of overweight teens who don’t fit the stereotypical image of an already thin person wasting away to skin and bones.
Overweight teens are bombarded with the message they should be thin, when the focus should be on being healthy. When eating right and exercising don’t work out, all the negative attention and criticism can easily lead to eating disorders, especially for those with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, or low self-esteem.
When they lose weight, they’re showered with compliments, which reinforce the bad habits and denial. The Mayo Clinic’s Leslie Sim says that because they are still overweight or at a healthy weight, even many pediatricians don’t stop to ask, “how are you losing weight?”
After months undetected, it is that much harder to overcome eating disorders as well as the potentially irreversible brain damage due to malnutrition. Recovery often takes many years and hospitalizations.
Sim says, “it is imperative that these children and adolescents' eating disorder symptoms are identified and intervention is offered before the disease progresses.”