Eating Disorder Facts: Who Gets Eating Disorders?
Eating disorder facts tell us anyone can get an eating disorder, but they are more common among teens and young adults. The explanation for this: when people are young, they are establishing an identity, and trying different behaviors, some of which may include unhealthy eating. Most young people don't consider it important to learn eating disorder facts, but gaining an understanding of healthy and unhealthy eating can be critical in helping to avoid an eating disorder (What are Eating Disorders? Get Eating Disorder Information) now or later in life.
Eating Disorder Facts: Young Adults Experiment
By experimenting with certain kinds of dieting and weight loss behaviors, young people put themselves at risk to develop eating disorders. Eating disorder statistics show they don't understand eating disorders and might attempt to lose weight by skipping meals, or by purging their food; they may binge-eat and then use diet pills to try to lose the weight they've gained.
More innocently, they may try to eat exclusively fat-free foods under the misconception this is the "healthy way;" despite eating disorder facts to the contrary. They may overexercise, believing if a little exercise is good, then a lot is better. They may simply engage in quirky eating habits that, in time, become habitual and extreme, or may read or see movies about eating disorders but lacking a true understanding of them, they accept eating disordered behaviors as "okay".
Why Do Some People Develop Eating Disorders?
Why do some kids develop eating disorders and others do not? It is impossible to ascertain the causes of these diseases. Research around eating disorders points to predispositions - primarily in genetics, through inherited body and brain chemistries, and through personality and temperament. Eating disorder research shows us when such predispositions occur in tandem with stressors or triggers that exist in a person's external environment, an eating disorder may develop. (More on the Causes of Eating Disorders)
Here are some eating disorder facts that may help you determine whether you are at risk of developing an eating disorder.
- Does anyone in your family have an eating disorder?
- Is someone in your family alcoholic?
- Is there verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse in your family?
- Does your family rarely eat meals together?
- Are you a perfectionist? Compulsive?
- Are others in your family perfectionistic? Compulsive?
- Are you a disordered eater?
- Do you tend to skip meals?
- Does your family tend to be extreme in their behaviors?
- Do people in your family try to avoid problems rather than face and resolve them?
How to Prevent an Eating Disorder
To be safe, it is a good idea to eat healthfully, and solve problems effectively, no matter what the nature of your internal or external environment. By doing so, you can virtually guarantee you will remain eating disorder-free throughout your life.
It is important to distinguish an eating disorder from what might simply be quirky eating or experimentation. Experimentation will never become pathology; an eating disorder's main function is a response to emotions, and/or an attempt to resolve or cope with emotional problems.
Last Updated: 13 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD