The Center for Disease Control and Prevention informs us that about one-third of all children in this country are overweight and 17% are clinically obese – more than triple the rate of 1976. In the end Spectrum, anorexia and bulimia rates, especially among teenage, but not exclusive, is also alarming. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 5% of girls and women and 1% of men suffer from anorexia. For 10-15% of anorexics, their eating disorder is deadly. Of those who survive, about 50% become bulimic! The sad thing about this picture is that these problems seem to be manifesting themselves earlier and earlier in people's lives, right from childhood. These are shocking numbers, and there seems to be no end in sight.
What are the underlying causes of this lamentable situation?
Of course, there are several reasons why people develop weight problems, ranging from genetics, to the emotional, psychological, environmental and cultural. Neuroscientists are studying brain chemistry to determine whether there are links between neurotransmitters and appetite.
Emotionally, food is associated with different meanings that go beyond its dietary value. The food can be company, comfort, love, acceptance and, always, immediate gratification, because most of us can not wait to eat and enjoy the food. We eat when we are sad; we eat when we are alone; we eat when we are bored; we eat when we are nervous, excited and so on. However, because of the central role weight plays in most of our lives, food intake is often associated with shame and / or guilt. We sneak food into our room because we do not want other family members to see what we are doing. We drink fast at work, again because we do not want our colleagues and friends to see us eat and see what we eat. We eat and feel bad at the same time because we know that what we eat is often not what we should eat. We give ourselves rationalizations to justify why we eat what we eat; we make promises to change our patterns, we make commitments … but we often fail.
80% of American women are dissatisfied with their bodies and their shape, and 50% are, at any time, in one form or another. No wonder food is a contentious issue for most people, and for women in particular!
From a cultural point of view, we are constantly bombarded with conflicting messages about food and body shape. The models are all ultra-thin, some of them are anorexic, and these are the models that girls admire and want to emulate. However, most women will never have models. body, no matter how much they try. We are therefore in a position of disappointment because we set goals that are impossible to achieve and maintain. At the same time, however, we can not watch TV for more than half an hour without being bombarded with food advertisements. Food is all around us all the time, so we are constantly tempted by it
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to reduce the problem and create healthy ways to cope with food.
In the next blog, we'll see how we can better control our eating habits and how our families and support systems can help us achieve this goal.