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

While medication can be helpful for many people with anxiety disorders, it is not always the best option for everyone. Some people may find that...

One thing to remember before a first date is that the overall quality of your life does not hinge on its success. If the date goes belly-up, you...

Making deep emotional connections with family and friends reduces stress, creates happiness, and can actually keep you healthier. In other words,...

It is true that what we eat affects our mood but also true that our mood affects how our food is digested. Thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and our...

It’s pleasant to think that daydreaming, the time we spend musing or fantasizing while we are awake, makes us happier people. Then researchers...

More Articles

I hope if you made it this far, that the information I have provided has begun to help you as far as an understanding anxiety disorder. I can't...

Should I try an herbal remedy for anxiety?

People are interested in herbal remedies for anxiety for a variety of reasons--some of the...

Specific phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder that is defined as an irrational fear of or aversion to a situation or specific...

There are a lot of techniques and good advice available on how to overcome panic disorder, from watching what you eat and drink to changing the...

As adults, we are well aware that our work environment has an effect on our mental health. When we're trying to do our jobs without the resources...

What is stress?

Stress is sometimes used to describe challenges or threats, like, “Kelly was under a lot of stress”, or other times to...

No one is immune to anxiety and panic attacks, including celebrities. Actress Amanda Seyfried recently told British Glamour magazine that she is...

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...

As anyone who has experienced one knows, anxiety attacks are very frightening episodes of intense fear or panic. In addition to the severe...

Ludiomil is the brand name of a tetracyclic antidepressant medication sometimes prescribed as a treatment for anxiety. Tetracyclic antidepressants...

Anxiety develops after an extended period of stress, usually six months or longer. When you suffer from an anxiety disorder, it can severely...

Facing our fears isn't an easy task for anyone of any age and we tend to run from our fears or expect them to disappear with time. Reducing the...

Social anxiety disorder, sometimes called social phobia, is a very common type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 15 million adults in...

Benzodiazepines are a generally well-tolerated class of psychoactive drugs commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. While they are considered to...

Uncontrollable shaking can happen when your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling.

Some...