Eating disorders are categorized as mental illnesses where there is an unhealthy relationship with food. People with eating disorders often struggle with body image and disrupts their normal activities with unusual eating habits to alter their appearance.
There are 3 main eating disorders
- Anorexia – fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
- Bulimia – the act of binge eating then purging or vomiting
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED), characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5% of women and 2% of men.
Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. struggle with an eating disorder. Almost 50% of these people also meet the criteria for depression. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. For women ages 15 to 24, the mortality rate of anorexia is 12 times higher than any other cause of death.
More than 50% of teen girls and nearly 33% of teen boys admit to using unhealthy methods to control their weight including smoking cigarettes, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, or taking laxatives. 69% of girls ages 10 to 18 confirm that photographs of models and celebrities in magazines inspired their desired body shape.
Celebrities have also suffered from eating disorders:
Calista Flockhart, admitted after years of being in denial that she struggled with anorexia while filming the TV show ‘Ally McBeal’
Jane Fonda, award-winning actress revealed that she had been a secret bulimic from age 12 and struggled with anorexia and bulimia for 30 years.
Geri Halliwell, publicly admitted suffering from bulimia and binge eating for several years.
Princess Diana, spoke publicly about her issues with bulimia and self-mutilation in 1994. Her brave speech regarding her eating disorder and personal struggles gave courage to many people to start talking about their own eating disorders.
Elton John has had a tumultuous history of alcoholism, drug abuse, and bulimia. He underwent a treatment program for drug addiction and bulimia. He has also spoken about how much it helped to know that his close friend Princess Diana struggled with bulimia as well. Since then, he has embraced his body, sexual identity, and life.
Mary Kate Olsen, checked into an eating disorder treatment center and underwent treatment for anorexia after months of speculation and rumors about her thin appearance and denying of being anorexic. She celebrated beating her eating disorder by giving away clothes that no longer fit her.
Alanis Morissette, Canadian singer admitted that she has struggled with anorexia and bulimia between the ages of 14 and 18.
Lady Gaga, spoke about her struggles with bulimia at the beginning of her career.
Paula Abdul, dancer, choreographer and singer, battled bulimia and decided to check herself in a clinic back in 1994.
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