Hell-Bent To Be Thin

Walk into any high school or colleges, and there will be hordes of young ladies who are slim and dressed in clothes that revealed their figures.

Yes, being thin is in and many are dying to be thin.

They want to look like their stars – Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. These girls and their elder sisters are lulled into thinking that the pencil-thin or hour-glass looks are a “tribute to the female form”; that these clothes enhance their femininity.

Studies carried out by the British Health authorities found that girls, as young as 11, are concerned about their body image. And this is one of the reasons for a rising problem among young females – eating disorder. Millions of young girls the world over are not satisfied with the shape and size of their bodies.

In Singapore, A National University of Singapore (NUS) study of 4,400 female students in 2005 also showed that 7% of them were found to be at high risk of disorders like anorexia and bulimia. There was a six-fold increase in the incidence of eating disorders in Singapore in the last 10 years.

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa ( when one engages in self-induced food restrictions and obsessive exercise although underweight) and bulimia nervosa (uncontrolled overeating or bingeing, followed by self-induced vomiting and purging via the use of laxatives).

Eating disorders are chronic conditions with devastating physical, psychological and social consequences when not given immediate attention.

In November 2006, Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, 21, was reported to have died of anorexia nervosa. She was 1.74m tall and weighed only 40kg when she died. Many Tinseltown celebrities like Nicole Richie and Mary-Kate Olsen are constantly under the media glare for losing weight and looking unhealthily thin.

And these disorders are more common among women than men. For every 10 to 20 women with eating disorders, there would be one male with similar problem.

Symptoms Of Eating Disorders

  • Drastic weight loss in a short period of time
  • Dizziness and   fainting  spells
  • Abdominal stress
  • Hypertension
  • Constipation
  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of hair
  • Dental enamel erosion
  • Disruption of menstruation cycles
  • Dry skin suddenly forming
  • Social Interactions
  • Easily agitated with people, even family members and friends
  • Erratic behaviour and sudden outbursts
  • Increasingly withdrawn from others.

Psychological Signs

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Outbursts of Anger
  • Moodiness
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Sudden crying spells
  • Grumpy demands
  • Restless behaviour
  • Sleeping difficulties

Specific Behaviours

  • Obsession with dieting
  • Extreme limitations of food intake
  • Fasting regularly
  • Throwing up after meals or snacks
  • Abuse of diet pills, laxatives and enemas
  • Cutting food into small chunks
  • Spending unusually long time in the bathroom after eating