It has come to my attention that starting from yesterday, this week is the American National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I wish this awareness week wouldn’t be National, but a global awareness week. Via Feministing you can read statistics on the number of people suffering from eating disorders in the US, as well as statistics on how dieting and losing weight is pressured on females through social norms. For those interested in statistics regarding Sweden and Finland, I’ll list the most basic facts below.
– Most people in Sweden suffering from Anorexia Nervosa are girls and young women. About 10% of the diagnosed victims are boys or young men. It is unclear what the percentage is for cases of Bulimia, but it is most likely identical or almost identical to the percentage of Anorexia. Even if some reports and research show an unfortunate rise of boys and young men becoming victims of Bulimia. However, when it comes to eating disorders where you over eat, 30% of the ones suffering are men.
– The risk groups of Anorexia are often females from ages 13-30. Anorexia is more common to arise during teenage years, while bulimia is more common problem to arise after teenage years.
– In 2007, it was counted that 60 000 girls and women suffered from Eating Disorders in Sweden. for Men from all age groups, and for older women, the total census number of people suffering from Eating Disorders was about 100 000. The latter number is a little uncertain, though.
– In the last thirty years, Bulimia has become a more severe disorder in all percentiles of the Swedish Population. Individuals who earlier haven’t been linked to Bulimia like older women and men of all ages have grown in risk. Unfortunately, Anorexia has also grown more common among children who haven’t hit puberty yet.
– In Finland, it is reported that a little over 10% of all young women suffer from some form of eating disorder. Even if it couldn’t be categorized as Bulimia or Anorexia. About 0.5-1.0% of teenage girls have a eating disorder. About 90-95% of people suffering from eating disorders are female.
The information about Sweden was taken from “KÄTS – Kunskapscentrum för Ätstörningar” and the last statistic about Finland was from the Finnish site WEB4Health. Since I have now listed statistics, I should probably now make a comment on this issue. I believe Eating Disorders are a cause of a perfectionist, consumer society, where women and men are too often valued by their bodies and looks, adding a lot of pressure to look “attractive” within very narrow set of parameters. If we are going to change these ridged social norms, we have start acting quite different towards individuals. The Feministing article has very good suggestions what to do about this situation. Worth a read.
Lastly, I will say this: I don’t buy fashion magazines since they only feature skin cover girls and models, as well as too often talk about dieting. Just a hint 🙂