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Eating disorders are a serious problem in the United States. Approximately thirty million
people of all ages, genders, race, and ethnic groups suffer from an eating disorder. At least one
person dies from eating disorders every hour. Many people who have an eating disorder also has
a mood disorder. Such as depression. In the age group of women over 50, 13% has an eating
disorder. Transgender college students, 16% have reported to suffer from an eating disorder.
3.5% of minority women and 2.1% of minority men have reported eating disorders among
college students. Even members of the military has demonstrated eating disorders. In a Study
following the active military personal over time, 5.5% of women and 4% of men had an eating
disorder at the beginning of the study, within a few years of continued service, 3.3% more
women and 2.6% more men developed an eating disorder. Of all the mental illness in the
country, eating disorders has the highest mortality rate.
The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, many believe that biological factors,
psychological factors and environmental factors can combine to create the risk of suffering from
an eating disorder. Biological factors can include hormone disorders, nutritional deficiencies and
genetics. Genetics is still be being researched regarding the tie between eating disorders and
genes, researches feel that genetics is part of the story. Negative body image and poor self
esteem are psychologic factors that influence eating disorders. Environmental factors can include
dysfunctional home environment, childhood traumas such as any form of abuse, peer pressure
among friends and or co-workers. Activities or career where being thin is promoted, such as
dancers and gymnastics.
There are three types of eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa , Bulimia Nervosa and Binge
Eating Disorder. Anorexia Nervosa suffers has an fear of gaining weight, view themselves as
being overweight even when they are not. Suffers of this eating disorder is unable to maintain a
healthy body weight and has unrealistic body images. 0.9% of American women at one point in
their lifetime has suffered from anorexia. The long term health effects can be damaging to the
human body, such as brain damage, organ failure, bone loss, oral care, and cardiac problems.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder where the person has repeated episodes of binge eating
followed by forced vomiting, use of laxatives or excessive exercise. These suffers also fear
gaining weight and are unhappy with their body size and shape. The binge eating and purging are
usually done in secret. Feelings of shame, guilt and lack of control develop from the repeated
cycle of eating and purging. Bulimia can cause gastrointestinal disorder, dehydration, heart
problems and an imbalance of the body’s electrolytes. 1.5% of American women will suffer from
bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. 50% of people with bulimia also have issues with a mood
disorder. 1 in 10 bulimics also have a substance abuse problems, usually with alcohol abuse. The
third eating disorder is Binge Eating Disorder. Binge eaters lose control over their eating. Unlike
bulimia nervosa, binge eating is not followed by forced vomiting, excessive exercise or overuse
of laxatives. People who suffers from this type of eating disorder are usually grossly overweight
and has increased chances of developing other conditions such as heart problems. The men and
women who suffer from this disorder has intense feelings of guilt, distress and embarrassment
related to the binge eating. These feelings can make the problem worse. 2.8% of American
suffers from this disorder in their lifetime. Nearly 50 % people also have a comorbidity of an
mood disorder and over 50% has an anxiety disorder. 1 in 10 has a substance abuse
disorder, usually alcohol.

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