Over one million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders develop for a variety of reasons. Troubled family and personal relationships, feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, focus on being thin, and being unprepared for leaving home and entering college are all factors that may trigger an eating disorder. Any of these factors can lead to a lack of self-esteem, a need to be perfect, a desire to control people and events, and a belief that being thin will make everything all right. Of course this is not the case--an eating disorder will actually make things much worse.
Society places a great deal of pressure on women to be thin, and on men to be tall and muscular. These images and ideals lead many to strive for an unrealistic body. After all, it is hard to fight genetics--not everyone has the genetic make-up to be a model.
One of the best ways to lower the occurrence of eating disorders is prevention. Eating disorders prevention begins by teaching children to love and take care of their bodies. Being aware of your own worth, while instilling a sense of self-esteem into children, family members, co-workers or friends is paramount. Keeping your focus on a healthy and balanced lifestyle rather than the latest diet and exercise fad is also very important. If an eating disorder does develop, prompt treatment increases the chances for a complete recovery.