HEALTHY LIVING & WELL BEING. EATING DISORDERS
Eating Disorders in Teens: Body Image
One of the most stressful times in a person’s life is when they enter into teen years.
This is a time when they begin to discover who they are, they are becoming more independent, they are establishing friendships, and their bodies start developing. For many, entering into puberty can be a very emotional, stressful, confusing, and frightening time. Some make the change from childhood into adolescence with only a few minor problems, while others may have a tougher time handling the pressures and some may develop eating disorders as a way to deal with the stresses they face.
Some may enter into puberty early and be subjected to teasing by their peers. Many fear the weight that is gained during this time is there to stay and they may desperately try to take the weight off. Once they start losing weight, people might compliment them, which would make them feel good.
They may start to believe that losing weight will make them happier, but no matter how much weight is lost, it is never enough, and they are never happy.
Going through puberty early can be very upsetting, especially if the teenager is being subjected to sexual advances.
These advances can be so upsetting it may cause them to feel ashamed of their bodies, fear becoming a woman, and they may try to make their bodies go back to a child like appearance through starvation.
The Body Image
Teenagers are under a lot of pressure to succeed and fit in. Many spend a lot of time worrying about what others think and they desperately try to conform to society’s “ideal” body image.
They are lead to believe that if they are thin, they will be accepted. Since many teenagers are constantly buying teen or fashion magazines, the images of thin models appearing in those magazines makes them believe that in order to be happy, they must be thin.
Television shows also lead them to believe that they must be thin.
They watch these shows all the time and many will do anything to try and look like the actresses on these shows. Many teenagers need a role model and someone to look up to. Unfortunately, too many of them chose fashion models or actresses as their role models, they paste pictures of them all over their rooms, and some will resort to dangerous methods of weight control to try and look like their idols.
What Schools Can Do
Schools should also take an active role in preventing eating disorders by educating the students on the dangers of eating disorders and helping to teach them that in order to succeed in life, their weight does not matter. You do not have to be thin, in order to succeed in the career of your choice. Teachers and school counselors should also be made aware of the signs to look for. If eating disorders are caught early, and the person is willing to accept the help that is available to them, the chances of recovery are greater.