Spread awareness of eating disorders

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, but they’re especially prominent among college students.

We are easily affected by these so-called skinny trends. We can see uncountable commercials about weight loss drugs on TV, in magazines and newspapers, and on the Internet. Our media influences and misleads young people to believe that skinny equals beauty.

However, due to this misleading information, more and more people are suffering from eating disorders. According to Massachusetts Eating Disorders Association, 15 percent of women between the ages of 17 to 24 have eating disorders; 40 percent of female college students have eating disorders; and 91 percent of female college students have attempted to control their weight through dieting.

Eating disorders have become a big issue among teenagers and their families. The number of tragedies related to eating disorders increases year to year. It’s time for people to start paying attention and caring about young people’s health.

But how do you know whether you have an eating disorder or if it’s just disordered eating? You may have an eating disorder if you find yourself described below.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. You may have anorexia if you have missed your period, you obsess about being thin, or you skip meals and avoid food-related social situations.

Bulimia nervosa is also a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse or exercise in an attempt to compensate for binging.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of behaviors to try to make-up for the binge eating.

The earlier these disorders are treated, the more likely it is that they will recover completely. Also, we are encouraged to do regular exercise, arrange a healthy diet and keep a positive attitude towards life to avoid eating disorders.

Letting your friends and families realize the danger of eating disorders is important and necessary. Stop risking your health; the future will be bright.

Jing Xu is a junior majoring in public relations and economics.