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Is the size 0 obsession responsible for eating disorders?

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Every girl want to be thin, right? At least that’s what magazines, TV shows and adverts are telling us. It seems, as obesity grows, the ideal size is continuing to dwindle. Eating disorders are increasingly becoming a part of everyday life, as women desperately aspire to reach the ideal size 0 propogated by the media and by the most glamorous industries in this world. But does the blame solely lie with them?

BBC health reporter Clare Murphy points out that the phenomenon can not be purely confined to modern times: “Examples of women refusing to eat can be found as far back as the 14th Century, with Catherine of Siena an early pioneer of holy starvation.” 

So what do we make of fashion icons such as Kate Moss coming out with apparently pro-anorexic statements? The supermodel recently declared that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels“. Here’s betting Kate wishes she’d kept her mouth shut. The press have been hot on her heels since with accusations being fired left, right and centre about how the fashion industry continues to abuse the power it has over young girls and encourage eating disorders.

But surely every girl knows how good it feels to be confident about her weight, News of the World’s Carole Malone writes: “Anyway what does “skinny” mean? And who says it means size zero? For me being “skinny” is getting into size 12 (US size 8) jeans…It’s totally subjective.“

She adds that to every 300 hospitalised anorexic teenagers in the UK, there are 700,000 youngsters who are obese, many of whom will develop heart disease and high blood pressure. Furthermore, a recent global study of anorexics showed that 40% were suffering from some other psychiatric ailment, such as obsessive compulsive disorder.

Experts have also suggested that there may be a link between anorexia and autism, which generates obsessive behaviour and could explain the low rate of full recovery. Professor Christopher Gillberg of the University of Strathclyde has suggested that anorexia may be a sign of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the BBC, with sufferers finding it hard change rules and behavioral patterns they have set for themselves and learnt over a long period of time.

Of course it cannot be denied that most women, and especially women in certain walks of life, feel the pressure to be slim. The tabloids are littered with stories about celebrities either losing too much weight or piling on the pounds. All this can and often does breed an unhealthy relationship with food and body image in certain individuals. Yet, most of us are not anorexic or bulimic but just moderately preoccupied with the way we look and understand that the true way to health and beauty lies in eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

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