Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Unintended Consquences of the Fight Against Obesity

Michelle Obama has decided obesity is the cause that she will trumpet as first lady.  While she is correct that obesity is a problem in our country, I wonder how much time she has spent looking at the intended consequences of her issue.  Eating disorders in this country are a very serious problem:

It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men

One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia

Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia

Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)

An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males
The causes of anorexia vary, but one common thread is the strive for perfection.  The constant images that young women see come from magazines and billboards.  We are bombarded with models that are picture perfect.  The problem is, even the models you see don't even look like the pictures that we see.  They are all airbrushed to look that way. 

We are hearing stories of school systems sending home notices about the body mass indexes of students.  While these particular students may very well have problems with weight that need to be addressed, what about that young girl that hears about these letters who isn't obese, but a little on the chunky side?  It puts additional pressure on young kids to be thin, a pressure that already exists. 

Anorexia also has long term health risks and the risk of a premature death:

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness

A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover

The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old.

20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems

It is not that I think that obesity is an issue that should be ignored, but we need to understand what the unintended consequences of this push can lead to.  More young woman die of anorexia than of obesity.  No where in the discussion have I heard this brought up.  Obama is strictly talking about being overweight.  Why is no one thinking of the young woman who is starving herself to death?  Why are they being ignored?  It seems to me that by concentrating only on obesity we are creating the atmosphere for a spike in the number of victims of this deadly illness. 


Deekaman said...

Have you seen Michelle's butt? That explains the focus on obesity.

LL said...

Conservative Girl -- FINALLY we know why Michelle looks frumpy all the time. She's trying to show American women that you don't have to look put together. It's her own secret fight against women's eating disorders...

Michelle is also helping men!
Way to go Michelle. Even I (a man) am put off food when I see you on television.

Opus #6 said...

I thought of eating disorders when I heard that the Obamas publicly criticized their own (thin) daughters and called them overweight.

"On the brink of teenagehood, Malia Obama is at an especially precarious position. With a naturally changing body, the idea that she has to face the world debating her fat puts her at higher risk for an eating disorder. And let's not forget what she looks like - tall and svelte, like her mother, she is a gorgeous girl but I dare say she's on the thin side."

Read more:

Just a conservative girl said...

Ok, LL and Deekaman Michelle Obama is not fat. This is part of the problem that I am trying to address, not that I think many young teenage girls read my blog, but the language we use matters.

Trestin said...

The cure for obesity is simple watch what you eat and exercise. That may not get you looking like a movie star, but it will cure obesity.

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