Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder Statistics:

-90-95% of people with anorexia nervosa are women

-Anorexia nervosa is estimated to affect 1 in every 100 adolescent girls

-Anorexia nervosa is most pervasive among Caucasians and among people in middle to upper socioeconomic groups

-In 1985, it was estimated that 20% of people with anorexia die from the long-term physical effects caused by chronic starvation, while in 2007, it was estimated that 6% of anorexics die from all complications of the disease, including cardiac arrest, electrolyte imbalances, and suicide.

-The mean age for the onset of anorexia is 13.75 years, and the range is from 10 to 25 years. 

-50% of Anorexics end up developing Bulimia

-According to some studies, 5-7% of women in the US will suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their lives. 

-Of all eating disorders, BED (Binge Eating Disorder) reportedly occurs across the widest range of ages, has the most male sufferers, and affects the greatest percentage of people.

-BED is reported to be affecting up to 8,000,000 Americans today. 

-It is believed that 3 times as many women as have BED actually binge but do not meet the clinical definition of BED.

-About 2% of the female population of the United States has BED.  For every 2 men who have BED, 3 women have it. 

-BED affects around 10-15% of people who are mildly obese and a greater percentage of those who are severely obese.  Overall, 25% of people who are obese also suffer from BED. 

-About 70% of bulimics have a weight in the normal range, with roughly 15% overweight and the same amount underweight.

-Over their entire lifetimes, about 3% of American women will suffer from bulimia nervosa at some point.

-About 6% of high school girls 13-19 and 5% of college-aged women are thought to have bulimia.

-Men make up 10% of bulimics.

-Between 20% and 40% of women with bulimia have had problems with drug or alcohol use. 

-The age at onset of bulimia ranges from 13 to 58 years.

10 Warning Signs that you may have an Eating Disorder:

Sign 1– Noticeable (and unexplainable) weight loss

Sign 2– A tendency for skipping meals and/or refusing to eat with or in front of others

Sign 3– A habit of eating extremely small portions, and/or restricting oneself to low-fat items with little nutritional value (such as lettuce and celery)

Sign 4– An obsession with calorie information and fat content of food being eaten

Sign 5– A preoccupation with body size, shape and weight (both self and others)

Sign 6– Persistent complaints about being fat, especially when person is noticeably thin.

Sign 7– A habit of wearing baggy or layered clothing (often done to hide weight loss)

Sign 8– A seemingly desperate need to exercise often and for long periods of time.

Sign 9– Evidence of using laxatives, diuretics and enemas

Sign 10– Dry skin and hair, and the development of a fine layer of hair on arms, legs and torso. 

Eating Disorder Types/Health Risks/Treatment

Anorexia Nervosa– also referred to as anorexia is on of the three common types of teen eating disorders.  Anorexia means “without appetite” and nervosa refers to the nervous system.  Although most often associated with teenage women, and  40% of new cases are found in teens aged 15-19.  People with Anorexia consistently deprive their bodies of needed nutrition in the form of calories, vitamins, electrolytes, and other nutrients for long periods of time.  Health Risks– A number of complications can arise from this- Heart problems including heart failure, amenorrhea (cessation of menstruation), kidney problems including kidney failure, muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, malnutrition and death.  Treatment– Treatment of Anorexia is multifaceted, involving nutrition, medical intervention as necessary, and psychological counseling which may includ family as well as the teen.  Depending on the condition of the teen, treatment may be able to proceed on an outpatient basis, or hospitalization may be required.  Family member participation is crucial for the success of the treatment. 

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)– BED is the most common type of eating disorder.  A teen binge eating disorder, also know as compulsive overeating, is when a teen is not able to control his or her overeating and has very negative emotions about his or her overeating problem.  This is not the same as “eating too much” on holidays and get-togethers with friends.  It is also not the same as a teen eating more due to the fact they are still growing.  This disorder is similar to bulimia but does not involve throwing up after the eating.  This is where the teen eats because he or she feels bad, then feels even worse and eats more.  While the average person eats 1800 to 2800 calories per day, a teen with BED consumes 10,000 or more calories in a day.  Teens with BED often feel ashamed and hide from their family and friends the amount of food they are actually eating.  One of the most common symptoms of this disorder is simply being overweight or obese.  Usually it is accompanied by withdrawel, and depression.  Health Risks– Health effects of BED include trouble sleeping, muscle and joint pain, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual problems for girls, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, gallbladder disease, cancer, social withdrawal, low sense of self worth, depression and suicide.  Treatment– Treatment is available for BED but requires professional help.  The first step to helping a teen with binge eating disorder is to talk to him or her about your concerns, and express your love and concerns using “I” (I’m worried about how much you’re eating) statements instead of “You” (You’re eating too much) statements.  It is usually a good idea to get a doctor involved that can address the physical/medical problems caused by BED, and a therapist to get to the bottom of the teen’s inability to deal with emotions or depression. 

Bulimia Nervosa– Bulimia is similar to BED in that bulimics replicate this behavior of heavy overeating.  Bulimia means “ox hunger”.  There are two behaviors associated with Bulimia- first Binging- the consumption of considerably larger amounts of food in a discrete period than most people would consume in similar circumstances and timeframe and concurrent feeling of loss of control over one’s eating during that period of time. Second- Compensationg- the inappropriate behaviors to compensate for the calorie intake during binging to prevent weight gain.   This can come in the form of either “Purging”- a self-induced vomiting , laxative abuse, diuretics, enemas, or “Nonpurging”- fasting and excessive exercise. Health Risks– dental issues including cavities and erosion of enamel (from vomiting), pain in the salivary glands (also from vomiting), stomach and esophagus problems, arrhythmia, heart attack and death.  Treatment– A multifaceted approach is necessary to address the physical issues and underlying and resulting psychological issues.  Counseling is combined with nutrition information and sometimes medication, such as antidepressants.  Whether the patient can be treated on an outpatient basis depends on the severity of the case. 

Note:  There are a couple of disorders that are new and emerging.  Some teens are now purging without first binging leading to completely different problems similar to anorexia.  Also, Diabulimia has emerged among teens that are type 1 diabetics, where they manipulate their insulin in an attempt to reduce their weight.   

What does God’s Word Say?

The bible never specifically mentions eating disorders, binging, purging or anything specific to what we understand today as an eating disorder.  God does however address in his word how we are to treat our bodies.  Let’s take a look:

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?  The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you.  God owns the whole works.  So let people see God in and through your body.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (portion)- The Message Bible

“What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli.  None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.  It’s God we are answerable to- all the way from life to death and everything in between- not each other.” ~ Romans 14:7-8- The Message Bible

If you or a family member is struggling with an eating disorder, we urge you to call a professional immediatly.  Your life is precious not only to your family, but to God.  We’ve listed some resources below- please call today!

Eating Disorder Center of Denver- 303-771-0861

Eating Recovery Center- 303-825-8584 or 720-214-4608

Eating Disorder Foundation- 303-322-3373

Overeaters Anonymous- 303-369-7766

More to come

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3 thoughts on “Eating Disorders”

  1. I feel sad for these people because all the pressure their going through. this happen to me when I 6 and 7 years old but its call the nerves system I had it a very long time. then it came back when I was 12 to 15 years old it was not fun I couldn’t eat because Im afraid to be overweight. and right now im 16 years old and im having the greatest time of my life I just got eat more healthy and exercise….

  2. Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few
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