Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crossing the Line: From Health to Hurt

In the United States, approximately 10 million females are fighting a life and death battle with eating disorders. Cultural and media influences, such as T.V, magazines and movies, reinforce the belief that women should concern themselves with appearance over ideas or achievements.

While most of our eating disorder clients have a preoccupation with food and weight, the underlying problem is about much more than food. Eating disorders are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships.

The most commonly known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, nulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. On the rise: exercise bulimia, diabulimia, pregorexia and orthorexia.

Orthorexia is characterized by excessive focus on eating healthy foods. In rare cases, this focus may turn into a fixation so extreme that it can lead to severe malnutrition or even death. The orthorexic may avoid certain foods, such as those containing fats, perservatives and animal products, or other ingredients considered by the orthorexic to be unhealthy. The orthorexic’s intent is to feel pure, healthy, and natural.

Diabulimia refers to an eating disorder in which people with diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need for the purpose of weight loss. This seems to be prevalent in young teens and women. The severe consequences of possible diabetic coma or death do not deter them from furthering their drive for thinness.

Exercise bulimia is a subset of bulimia in which a person is compelled to exercise in an effort aimed at burning the calories of food enery and fat reserves to an excessive level that negatively affects their health. The damage normally occurs through not giving the body adequate rest for athletic recovery compared to their exercise levels, leading to increasing levels of disrepair. If the person eats a normally healthy and adequate diet but exercises in levels she knows require higher levels of nutrition, this can also be seen as a form of anorexia.

The phenomenon of pregorexia is a term coined by the media. The intense need to remain slim and sculpted during pregnancy is a growing concern among the medical profession.

Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional, social, and familial issues, all of which need to be addressed for effective prevention and treatment. For additional information, visit http://www.eatright.org/, http://www.edreferral.com/, and http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/.
Terri L. Mozingo, RD, CDN
D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN
This post is part of the Women's Health Blogfest. Here are links to posts from other Women's Health bloggers.

Update 7/16/09: The links below may not work. In the meantime, view http://nurturingnotes.blogspot.com/2009/07/busy-busy-woman.html to access all the other links.

Angela White at Blisstree’s Breastfeeding 1-2-3 – Helpful Skills of Breastfeeding Counselors
Angie Tillman, RD, LDN, CDE – You Are Beautiful Today
Anthony J. Sepe – Women’s Health and Migraines
Ashley Colpaart – Women’s health through women
Charisse McElwaine – Spending too much time on the “throne?”
Danielle Omar – Yoga, Mindful Eating and Food Confidence
Diane Preves M.S.,R.D – Balance for Health
Joan Sather – A Woman’s Healthy Choices Affect More Than Herself
Laura Wittke – Fibro Study Recruits Participants
Liz Marr, MS, RD – Reflecting on Family Food Ways and Women’s Work
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RD, NSCA-CPT – Healthy Women, Healthy Business: How Your Health Impacts a Powerful Business
Marsha Hudnall – Breakfast Protein Helps Light Eaters Feel Full
Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD – A Nutritionista’s Super Foods for Super Skin
Monika Woolsey, MS, RD – To effectively work with PCOS is to understand a woman’s health issues throughout her life
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog – How breastfeeding helps you, too
Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, LD – Four Keys to Wellness, Just for Women
Renata Mangrum, MPH, RD – The busy busy woman
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD – Feeding the Appetites of the Culinary, Epicurious and Nutrition Worlds-One Bite at a Time
Sharon Solomon – Calories, longevity and do I care
Wendy Jo Peterson, RD – Watch Your Garden Grow


Liz Marr, MS, RD said...

Nice concise post on eating disorders. I never heard of pregorexia until I read this post. I learn something new every day in the blogosphere.


Liz Marr, MS, RD said...

I never heard the term pregorexia until I read your post. I learn something new every day in the blogosphere!


hormonewoman said...

So glad you brought up diabulimia...that's the one that scares me the most. I used to volunteer at diabetes camp and that was a real issue.

Thanks so much for participating! Blogfest is so much better with more opinions and perspectives.

Look forward to working with you on the men's health followup!


Lisa said...

Happy Holidays! My name is Lisa Hope and I am the assistant editor of Disorder.org. I am contacting you today in hopes of developing a strategic partnership with your website; we have seen your site and think your content is great. Disorder.org is an online gateway for people to find information regarding disorder diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment -- and is continually adding content. More specifically, Disorder.org is starting a campaign to promote awareness about eating disorders of all types. If you're interested in a partnership, please contact me at lisa.disorder.org@gmail.com.