.. ng disorders still remain a mystery one thing is for sure, many college students are a high percentage of those who are affected by this disease. It is no wonder that one in six female college students has some sort of disordered eating( McMurray 30).
For many, food is a comfort or security in a time of confusion and stress. The transition from high school to college is an important, most being freshman and leaving home for the first time in their lives.This experience can be traumatic for many, and the unrecognized dependency of parents and lack of experience making adult decisions on their own can cause problems functioning in the less-controlled college environment. Living in a dorm or apartment with other students means getting along with others, withstanding the normal coming and going as students leaving for school. This situation among the other stressful situations college introduces, can leave many students vulnerable therefor more susceptible to problem eating.
For students who already feel vulnerable to problem eating, this situation can may cause more feelings of helplessness, thus worsening the problem even more. In a recent edition of People magazine, a researcher analyzed and studied the rise in eating disorders among college campuses, and came up with some surprising conclusions.The researcher found that the connection between an unfamiliar place and insecurity using problem eating to gain control. Also, being in an unfamiliar place, social acceptance is a major issue and also another key in eating disorders. Many young women feel as though if they are skinny then they too will be accepted. These young women are surrounded by images of rail thin models in magazines and actresses on television who are thought to be beautiful, so they too think that is they are thin then they will be accepted and therefore, happy. Many girls who are already very self conscious may look to catching a guy to fulfill their emotional needs they lack. In doing this they believe that they have to look a certain way or be a certain size to be wanted.
“This situation carries all the dynamics that can also contribute to problem eating”, states Chelsea Waters in her biography Diary if an Eating Disorder. Many girls then turn to extreme dieting and bingeing and purging to control the situation. Although many researchers have found college stress and lifestyle change, and social acceptance to be a major factor in the prevalence of eating disorders among college students, family life is also another key factor. There are many psychiatric and psychological reasons behind eating disorders, including both mental and emotional anguish. Psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Couture has found a connection between the family relationship and the effect it has on young women and men. Dr.Couture found that women especially have been abusing food since they were small children.
As children they learned to reach for a sweet instead of a potential friend. Also, certain variables also contribute to a young women’s problem with food. For example, most dorm cafeteria’s serve food mainly high in fat and protein.
Students who study late at night and become hungry cannot access healthy food like they would at home.Therefore, many female college students find themselves handling stress by bingeing or starving themselves. Several researchers trace difficulties with food and eating habits back to family origin. Those students suffering from bulimia or bingeing and purging, often came from families characterized by lack of parental affection, negative, hostile, and disengaged patterns of family interaction, and alcoholism. Researchers also found a link between childhood sexual experiences and bulimia. Families in which the mother’s daughter from each other, also show a correlation with anorexia and bulimia. For many young women, poor eating habits evolve as a way of exerting some sort of control in a difficult family situation.Many women suffering eating disorders report that their families lack commitment, help, and support, so instead of reaching out and expressing their frustrations and anger, they feed their eating disorder with this negative feedback.
Those who came from a family with such problems also reported suffering from other conditions such as: depression, social phobia, and hostility. Cynthia Bulk, another Psychiatrist, found that many anorexics and bulimic hold fears similar to those with social phobia. These people have issues about social situations and are insecure and ashamed of their bodies.
In that sense, many suffering from eating disorders feel like if they achieve their goal weight they too will find the happiness associated with what our society values as slenderness and beauty.Researchers are still looking at the factors of eating disorders, from the stressful college transition, family life, and the media’s impact , to find some answers to this myriad and perplexing disease. Researchers feel that the prevalence of eating disorders among female college students is not necessarily a new phenomenon, but one gaining recognition because of the prevalence and acceptance and exploitment in the media. Although there is a great deal of information between the family origin and the resulted eating disorder behavior, and the stress of the impersonal college living with maladaptive eating, the information on the link between the media and eating disorders is quantitative. It is a tragedy that our society is partly to blame for eating disorders due to the value they place on being thin.
It is also very unfortunate that so many young women and men are starving their bodies and souls to fit what our culture has considered to be “ideal.” People have forgotten that what is inside a person that counts, not what is on the outside.The American society needs to learn love and accept themselves, and also begin to love their bodies, no matter what size they are. Along with that, the children need to be taught to be proud of who they are. People come in all shapes and sizes, and should be accepted them for who they are not what they look like. It is scary when children as young as the age of ten are becoming obsessed with dieting and their bodies. They are becoming afraid of what our society says is unacceptable and is looked down upon: being fat.
If a child is raised to love and accept who they are and what they look like, they will be less likely to strive to fit into society’s unattainable standards.Society cannot control what the media says or what they may claim, but they do not have to support it. Stop buying those fashion magazines that just make you feel bad! Stop believing all the lies told by the fashion and diet industry. Our society needs to learn to be realistic and focus on learning to love and accept themselves. No number on a scale and fitting into a smaller dress size will make anyone happy. Real happiness can only come from within.