We live in a world where teens feel increasingly pressured to look “perfect” in order to be accepted by themselves and their peers. Many teens turn to unhealthy dieting patterns to gain control over their bodies and lose unwanted pounds. Now, more than ever, teen eating disorders are a serious issue in our society.
A recent study found that over half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys engage in unhealthy behaviors to control their weight. Some of the most common unhealthy behaviors include skipping meals, taking laxatives, vomiting, and smoking cigarettes. There are many serious health consequences that are a result of self-starvation or self-induced vomiting. These behaviors can result in an abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, muscle loss and weakness, reduced bone density, severe dehydration, hair loss, loss of menstruation in women, and even death. Because eating disorders are about gaining unrealistic control over one’s body and one’s life, it usually leads to a poor self-image and depression. These life destroying behaviors must be stopped.
Help and hope is available to those who suffer from such self-defeating behaviors. By recognizing that teen eating disorders are a serious issue and by not brushing strange dietary behaviors off as simply “a phase”, you can help your loved ones get the help they need to fully enjoy life in their own God-given body.