Three Out of Four American Women Have Disordered Eating

10 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

A new survey by Self magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina shows that sixty-five percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 45 report having disordered eating behaviors and an additional ten percent reported symptoms consistent with full-blown eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. The disordered eating behavior in this study cut across racial and ethnic lines and was not limited to a particular age group either.

So basically what this means is that the majority of women in this country are experiencing serious distress related to food and weight. This distress is so normalized and validated that most women probably don't even recognize it as disordered. Women turn to makeover books and TV shows instead of support groups. Girlfriends talk to girlfriends about their latest extreme diets, but it doesn't occur to them that they could (and should) talk to therapists about how often they feel genuinely depressed about their weight. When we feel bad about ourselves, we think weight loss is the solution. But more often than not, our weight loss attempts only make us feel worse--physically and emotionally.

  • 75 percent of women report disordered eating behaviors or symptoms consistent with eating disorders; so three out of four have an unhealthy relationship with food or their bodies
  • 67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight
  • 53 percent of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight
  • 39 percent of women say concerns about what they eat or weigh interfere with their happiness
  • 37 percent regularly skip meals to try to lose weight
  • 27 percent would be “extremely upset” if they gained just five pounds
  • 26 percent cut out entire food groups
  • 16 percent have dieted on 1,000 calories a day or fewer
  • 13 percent smoke to lose weight
  • 12 percent often eat when they’re not hungry; 49 percent sometimes do

[Science Daily] [Self]

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