When we think about eating disorders, we normally associate such problems with teenagers and young adult women. However, there is now evidence that these conditions are becoming increasingly common in a new age group, women aged over 4o.
Previously, this group made up less than 5 percent of patients seeking treatment for anorexia. Now, this figure is reported to have increased to over 10 percent. Why? Various reasons are put forward, including images of actresses who continue to remain thin even as they age, but also the stressors commonly faced by women as they attain middle age. These might include the death of a parent, relationship breakup and children leaving home.
In a recent survey of 2000 women by UK health magazine Top Sante, most women reported being unhappy with their bodies, with half either having had or considering cosmetic surgery to correct perceived flaws.
Of particular concern is that many women admitted to turning to inappropriate means of controlling their weight and body shape. While more than 70% of women had made serious attempts to diet, 58% admitted to following "disordered" eating patterns, as characterised by skipping breakfast, having a snack for lunch or having wine and chocolate instead of a proper dinner. Strategies which allowed the women to have 'treats' while remaining maintaining weight control. A third also reported having used slimming pills or laxatives and fasting to keep weight down.
"This research has concluded what we always
suspected - that people of all ages are concerned
about issues with weight and shape. It's vitally
important to follow an appropriate diet and
to take exercise. Abusing slimming pills and
laxatives can have a dramatic effect on your health.
Eating disorders. Could you be at risk?