By: Destini Merrill
Food is life! And I'm not just using this term as a witty colloquialism. I actually mean it. Food is sustenance, we have to eat to survive; to supply our bodies with the nutrition, strength, and energy we need to live. But to compliment that important piece of info, food is awesome, it's delicious, it's cultural, it brings people together, it even helps ease stress. Which is why it's rather discouraging to know that so many college students suffer from eating disorders. With obesity being on the rise, and the standards of beauty only just changing ever so slowly, there have been many cases of eating disorders throughout society. But a lot of cases are more prominent in the U.S. regarding college students. In fact, according to the Walden Center Education and Research, 15% of women 17 to 24 have eating disorders,1% to 7% of college males have eating disorders, 20% of college students said they have or previously had had an eating disorders, and 91% of female college students have attempted to control their weight through dieting. Each of these cases are including anorexia (the voluntary loss of appetite), bulimia (binge eating and forcibly purging the food), and binge eating (continuously eating without feeling satisfied). And with each of these eating disorders, comes the terrible mental and physical effects.
- Distorted body image
- Passionate need and want to be thin
- Ignorance of the feeling of hunger
- Low blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Dry and frail skin and hair
- Sore throat
- Enamel erosion and gum disease due to the presence of stomach acid
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weak muscles
- Risk of obesity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder disease
- Feeling of loneliness
All of the effects on the body is very surprising. But, by the time people are old enough to go to college, most of them are already aware of what eating disorders are and the consequences, so the question is why do people decide to subject themselves to the harsh trails of eating disorders? Well, there are various reasons as to why eating disorders happen. It has been found that most people have eating disorders because of low self-esteem and being unsatisfied with the way that they look. Most wanting to fit in with the modern standards of beauty; to be thin like all the beautiful models and celebrities in pop culture media. Because of this thought, many believe that if they become skinny, they'll be as gorgeous and acceptable as these exposed Hollywood figure heads. Reasons beyond that vary from peer pressure or bullying, being a part of athletic extracurricular, emotional traumas, even new parenthood.
There are many reasons why people will develop eating disorders despite knowing the consequences or not. But the bottom line is, that eating disorders are one of the most horrible issues that a number of college students go through, both male and female. It is nothing to be ashamed of but it is also nothing to be ignored, because in the most extreme cases, every 62 minutes, someone will lose their life to an eating disorder. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't hope for care and recovery. With 1 out of 10 people receiving treatment and living long lives after their experiences, there is always optimism for a healthy, happy life.
Health Tip of the week:
If you or anyone you know has an eating disorder contact the NEDA Feeding Hope Helpline at (800-931-2237). And then go enjoy a piece of cake!