Up to ten million Americans are diagnosed with eating disorders each year. While as many as one million of them are male, the most common sufferers are girls who appear to be well-adjusted with good grades, sports participation, and busy social lives. However, on the inside they may feel empty or out of control. Is it biology? Is it the predictable effect of a "Barbie culture" that values, advertises, and promotes extreme thinness? Both?
Because there is no definitive cause for eating disorders, there is no easy prescription to prevent them. As parents, our best defense against this threat is awareness. In this study, parents will receive practical tips to help them recognize the signs of the three basic types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.
Study questions are provided to encourage parents to examine and, if necessary, modify the appearance expectations they have about their own children. Parents are also encouraged to examine their own attitudes, beliefs, prejudices, and behaviors about food, weight, body image, physical appearance, health, and exercise so they model appropriate values for their children.
Self-esteem may be the universal vaccine that can immunize a youngster against eating problems, body image distortion, exercise abuse, and many other problems.