The Housewife average American?
When people think of an eating disorder – they usually think of an extremely underweight woman in her late teens or early twenties.
However, new research from Australia shows a dramatic increase in eating disorders among those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and.
Proving that eating disorders transcends all age, gender, and race.
What's driving this?
A recent study published in PLoS ONE highlights how difficult it is to get accurate statistics on eating disorders. Only so many people with eating disorders correspond to the exact definitions of anorexia or bulimia, as defined in DSM-IV.
However, other behaviors – such as binge eating, purging and strict dieting or fasting are increasing.
The main conclusion of this study is that eating disorders appear to be increasing in prevalence point in Australia, but this increase may be EDNOS rather than anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
Note that the search is by comparing two surveys (1995 and 2005) in South Australia (with about 3,000 participants in each).
How many years?
A look at the statistics (click to view) shows a dramatic increase in "strict diet of fast" behavior between the ages 45-64. In the age group of 45-54 there was a big jump (11% to 28%) in purging – in stark contrast to those who are younger.
The Sydney Morning Herald says that "Middle-aged women are developing eating disorders to emulate young celebrities looking like Madonna and Teri Hatcher. [...]."
The research does not really give any reasons for the increase – we can only speculate.
The Herald also quotes:
[...] The celebrity-driven phenomenon of yummy mummy and the pressure to return to pre-baby weight were driving women to go on fad or restrictive diets, leaving them at high risk for an eating disorder.
What about the United States?
The Huffington Post recently reported that this trend is happening among middle-aged women in the United States as well.
From 2001-2010 the rate of eating disorders in this age group increased by 42%.
They cite another reason for this trend is that middle-aged women are often dealing with some kind of loss in their lives, which can lead to depression and poor eating habits.
What do you think?