20 January 2017

Eating Disorders and Social Media

Eating disorders are becoming increasingly common, but are more prominent in young adults and teenagers. Many experts point the finger of blame at social media for encouraging these eating disorders sites filled with men and women who have the ‘ideal’ body capture the attention of these youngsters who would do almost anything to look like this – even if it means harming themselves via an eating disorder. One woman who places all the blame on social media is dieting and exercise expert Rosemary Conley. She has worked in the diet industry for decades and has seen a noticeable rise in younger women and teens suffering from an eating disorder as a result of trying to base their appearance on those they saw on social media platforms.

Frightening Obsession

Seventy-year-old Rosemary is an exercise and diet expert who is putting the blame for the noticeable rise in eating disorders on the ‘frightening obsession’ that teenagers have adopted with taking selfies. She told the Daily Mail, “We are living in a world of unreal marketing images of perfect bodies, which have been photoshopped to look taller, skinnier and more tanned. Combine this with the obsession of young people taking selfies in the search for fame and recognition; we have a frightening combination. With the popularity of social media like Instagram, it is no wonder that young girls are tempted to be super-skinny and to try protein drinks and muscle enhancing supplements in search of the perfect body – which, of course, doesn’t exist.”

Sensible and Realistic

She added, “Whatever happened to eating healthily and getting fitter sensibly? Eating three meals a day, avoiding high-fat snacks, eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, drinking only sugar-free drinks and enjoying alcohol in moderation is the key to a healthy body. Add to this a form of exercise that is enjoyable, and you have the perfect recipe for a trim, fit and toned body. It is just a matter of being sensible and realistic.”

Fuelled by Social Media

Miss Conley is the founder of her eponymous Diet and Fitness Clubs, an organisation with a priority to assist millions around the world to lose weight healthily. She was awarded a CBI in the Honours List for 2004 for services to the diet industry. She also runs an online dieting club and has released exercise videos and books during her time. She believes that teenagers are ruining their body and altering their mental state as they become more and more obsessed with trying to achieve the ‘perfect body’ after being ‘fuelled’ by social media.

Widespread Concern

In 2015, NHS figures were released that highlighted the overall number of teenagers admitted to hospital on the back of an eating disorder had almost doubled in just three years. These statistics are alarming and are causing widespread concern among experts who fear that this number will keep on rising. Many experts and institutions, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists, are blaming the same thing for this rapid increase in eating disorders – social media. Nowadays, nearly every young person has access to the internet, whether through a smartphone, laptop or tablet. With this access to social media comes access to unlimited pictures, blogs and videos of individuals claiming to have the perfect body. While many can only dream of having toned abs, perfectly proportionate features and a flat stomach, some are desperately trying to obtain this. In turn, this is causing a lot of harm to themselves and loved ones as they typically end up with an eating disorder.

Damaging Websites

A popular Channel 4 documentary, Supersize vs Superskinny, recently showed that there is a collection of ‘thinspiration’ sites online that actively encourage young women and teens suffering from eating disorders to keep losing weight – despite it being extremely unhealthy. These damaging websites offer advice on how to exercise without loved ones knowing, avoid food, and to measure the ‘thigh gap’ between your legs. Websites such as these are easily accessible and can even encourage those who do not have an eating disorder to start trying to lose weight.

Additional Information

You may have concerns about yourself or a loved one who appears to be suffering from an eating disorder. If so, make sure you contact us here at UKAT today. Our clinics are designed to ensure the maximum comfort of our guests, and we want nothing more than for those entering our clinic for treatment to leave ready to lead a happy, healthy life. We can help with eating disorders and other types of addiction, and we have a range of treatments to tackle these effectively while ensuring that the individual is as comfortable as possible. For more information about our clinic or the treatments we offer, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we would be more than happy to assist you in any way that we can.

Source: Diet expert Rosemary Conley says teenagers’ ‘frightening obsession’ is leading to eating disorders (Mail Online)

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