Who is at risk for developing an eating disorder?

Both men and women may develop an eating disorder; however some groups are more at risk than others. About 90 to 95 percent of all people with anorexia or bulimia are women. Athletes who must control their weight such as dancers and gymnasts are also susceptible. It's estimated that among athletes -- both men and women -- about 10 to 20 percent develop eating disorders.
Girls and women are much more likely to develop eating problems than our male counterparts are and account for 90 percent of all diagnosed eating disorders. As women, we are taught to see ourselves in relation to others, to avoid confrontation, and to conform to societal ideals regarding thinness. We often compare ourselves to other women, even if we never admit it, and model ourselves according to what we think men find attractive. The media's constant pounding of a Western feminine ideal of thinness is evident in magazines, billboards, television sitcoms, and pop icons. This tacit "weightism," along with the more direct messages that children (and even adults) send through weight-based taunts and prejudice, contributes to body dissatisfaction and eating disorders. A recent study by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that teasing about body weight was consistently associated with low self esteem and depression, regardless of the subjects' weight.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.