Preventing Eating Disorders among Pre-Teen Girls: A Step-By-Step Guide

Preventing Eating Disorders among Pre-Teen Girls: A Step-By-Step Guide

Preventing Eating Disorders among Pre-Teen Girls: A Step-By-Step Guide

Preventing Eating Disorders among Pre-Teen Girls: A Step-By-Step Guide

Synopsis

Introduces activities to prevent eating disorders in order to empower girls with thoughtful rationale. They are taught to decode media messages, investigate the harmful effects of dieting, explore their own body image issues, and develop stress and coping resources.

Excerpt

I remember when I first began hearing about eating disorders: it was through the media, soon after Karen Carpenter died in 1983 of heart failure caused by chronic anorexia nervosa. After her death, anorexia and bulimia became the topics of after-school specials and made-for-television movies. I remember watching the first movie ever made about anorexia nervosa, The Best Little Girl in the World, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. This movie had a powerful effect on me, and I knew I did not want to have anorexia, but I also knew I could relate to Casey Powell, the anorexic protagonist, and her desire to be thin. By age 151 had already been on numerous diets, worn skintight girdles under my clothing, and become extremely dissatisfied with several parts of my body.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, young girls with anorexia were regularly being paraded in front of live audiences on talk shows. Granted, these movies and daytime appearances brought attention to eating disorders and stimulated discussion, research, and treatment. However, I find it interesting that television producers no longer find this topic worthy of daytime television or movies. Why has this life-threatening disorder become commonplace? Why the fading interest by the media? The answer appears cynical but clear— young women with anorexia do not look much different from our favorite actors and models, so the shock value has lost its shock.

Nothing depicts this sentiment better than a story told by Adrienne Ressler, Clinical Outreach Director and Body Image Specialist at the Renfrew Center. I attended several seminars on eating disorders at which Ressler spoke at length about eating disorders and the media's influence on young women. She amazed the seminar participants throughout the day with statistics and information, but nothing was more telling or more interesting than a couple . . .

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