Each year, millions of people in the United States are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders; the two most common being anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. (Hoffman 1) Over 90 percent of those afflicted with the disorders are young women. Approximately 1 percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which they can literally starve themselves to death while another two to three percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa, a destructive pattern of excessive overeating followed by vomiting or other “purging” behaviors. These disorders have reached epidemic proportions.
For example, a recent study sited by the National Eating Disorders Association showed that 50 percent of girls have significant eating disturbances at some point during their teens. (NEDA website) Obviously, anorexia and bulimia are serious illnesses that need and deserve serious attention. However, many people do not know much about the disorders, thus do not recognize warning signs often times until it is too late.
One of my closest friends suffered a life-threatening case of anorexia and going through it with her was one of the hardest things I have ever seen or done. It made me realize how scary eating disorders can be and how important it is to educate others about them. My friend was lucky enough to survive – but no one should die from an eating disorder. By being more conscious of the disorders and being aware of their destructive nature, perhaps we can prevent the diseases from continuing to grow.