Eating Disorders

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.


“I am the poet of the Body, and I am the poet of the Soul
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
Divine am I, inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch.
The scent of these arm-pits is aroma finer than prayer.
I dote on myself, there is a lot of me and all so luscious.”

Walt Whitman


How many women do you know today that would speak in such reverent tones of their bodies? Not many!

This course is meant to educate people on eating disorders, on body image and the influence of the media on women of all ages. We are experiencing an epidemic in disordered eating in this country with almost 2/3 of Americans being overweight or obese and at least 5% of Americans struggling with anorexia or bulimia. As professionals, it is incumbent upon us to learn as much as we can about these deadly disorders. It is imperative that we know how to recognize an eating disorder and then know enough to at least make an appropriate referral.

  • Approximately 7 million girls and women, and approximately 1 million boys and men will struggle with eating disorders this year.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any DSM diagnosis.
  • Anorexia nervosa is the leading cause of death in adolescent girls, with bulimia nervosa a close second.
  • 19% of college aged women in America are bulimic although as many as 33% of young women in this age group will experiment with eating disordered behaviors.
  • 10% of all persons with eating disorders are male.
  • 81% of 10 year-olds are afraid of being fat.
  • 91% of women recently surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting.
  • 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance, which is indicative of a cultural condition.
  • When surveyed, a group of young women were asked: Would you rather be maimed in an automobile accident, experience the loss of a good friend, flunk out of school, lose all your hair or be fat? The overwhelming response was that they would rather have any of the above situations happen to them than be fat.
  • We are truly experiencing an epidemic of disordered eating and body image in our culture. The question becomes, “Now that we are aware, what do we do?” The first step must be education.


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