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Eating Disorders Now More Prevalent in Older Women?


According to a new study, middle-aged to older women are now beginning to become susceptible to various eating disorders – something traditionally only attributed to younger girls.

As per an Australian study (via John Hopkins Mood Disorder Clinic) poor body image and a lack of self-confidence are driving more and more women to the point of no return. Karen Swartz, M.D., Director of Clinical Programs at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine recently summarized the aforementioned study in a quick piece:

"Investigators surveyed a random sample of 475 women ages 60 – 70 about their eating behaviors, weight history, and attitudes toward their bodies. Around 90 percent said they felt very or moderately fat, and 60 percent reported being dissatisfied with their bodies. The majority of women had a body mass index (BMI) of 25, which is considered just slightly overweight, and wanted to have a normal-weight BMI of 23. Over 80 percent of the women made efforts to manage their weight.

Four percent of the women (18 total) met the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder: One had anorexia nervosa, two had bulimia nervosa, and 15 had symptoms of an unspecified eating disorder that did not meet the criteria for anorexia or bulimia. In addition, another 4 percent of the women (21 overall) reported a single symptom of an eating disorder, such as using laxatives, diuretics, or vomiting to lose weight, or binge eating.

Typically, it has been assumed that as women age, these problems become less common, but this study suggests that the desire to be thin never fades. Some of the women may actually be experiencing recurrences of eating disorders they suffered from in their teens, 20s, or 30s. Others may have had continuous problems throughout their lifetimes. And still others may have developed the problems anew in their later years."


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