Anorexia May Be a 'Socially Transmitted' Disease

Anorexia nervosa is a disease that tends to affect younger women, and cases have been on the rise for years. Now, analysis of a 3,000 person data set by the London School of Economics shows that simply being surrounded by thinner peers is enough to increase a woman's chances of "catching" the disorder.

In what is being called the first economic study of anorexia, in which a person's distorted self-image leads them to eat less or not at all, LSE researchers found that not only do the images seen in magazines and billboards affect body image, but so do the sizes and shapes of a woman's cultural peer group. The study looked at rates of anorexia in the UK and Europe.

In countries like France, with thinner women (on average), rates of anorexia are likely to be higher, and LSE scientists have begun thinking of it as a "socially transmitted disease". Furthermore, this latest study comes with a recommendation for greater government intervention in the kinds of images that can be shown to the public.

Governments in Europe have been more willing to regulate the display of images of super-skinny models by fashion companies since the 2006 death of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, but that might not be enough, say researchers. More positive encouragement has to be provided to young women not to judge themselves by the shape of others.

Ninety percent of anorexia cases are women between 15 and 34 years of age, and rates of incidence for that group in Europe range from around 0.3 percent to four percent. The rate of incidence in the US is about 0.5 percent, with over seven million women affected.

Source: The Guardian
Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

If you experience anxiety in various unfamiliar situations, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from situational...

Experiencing anxiety is not a mental health problem. Having what is sometimes called abnormal (neurotic) anxiety can indicate several things,...

The terms panic attack and anxiety attack are used interchangeably by most people, but are panic and anxiety really the same thing?

Panic...

In the movie The Phenomenon, the main character (played by John Travolta) was under a tremendous amount of stress. He seemed to be at a breaking...

Not all causes of anxiety require a therapist; if you suffer from anxiety there are ways to self-help. And acknowledging that you have an anxiety...

More Articles

There are several ways right in your home to lift your spirits, reduce anxiety, and invite more restful sleep. Based on my own experiences and...

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to mood disorders like depression, but scientific evidence showing the role it plays is surprisingly...

There are a number of herbal remedies touted as treatments for anxiety, and it can be hard to know which ones actually work and which are little...

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be a crippling condition that keeps you from living your life, but sometimes the prescription anxiety...

Stress can strike anyone at any time, but anxiety occurs when stress is present for an extended amount of time, from several months to several...

There is a research study getting some press now about the effect of helicopter parenting on the anxiety level of children. A helicopter parent is...

Serax® is the brand name for the drug oxazepam, a benzodiazepine that has been in use since the 1960s.

Serax is used primarily for the...

A couple dozen people are waiting to board a plane, and at the last minute the flight is delayed...

One person immediately runs up to the...

Yet another study has confirmed that yoga can assist in the treatment of a wide range of psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety,...

Need a gift for that special anxious person in your life? Here are enough ideas to cover the 12 days of Christmas (or 12 birthdays).

...

In the first study of its kind in this specific patient population, researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found...

Everyone experiences mild anxiety from time to time. Occasional stress over work and family obligations is a normal part of life, as is anxiety...

Sometimes it seems that life would be easier without emotions. It’s true, we would not have to feel bad if they disappeared, but neither would we...

Anxiety dizziness is an uncomfortable inner feeling of confusion. The word is used to describe so many different sensations, your health care...

Although people typically think of anxiety as a mental condition, it causes a number of physical symptoms. Severe anxiety, particularly...