The Correlation Between Media and Eating Disorders

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TV Brings Eating Disorders to Fiji
<TABLE cellPadding=5 width="90%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top width=88>
</TD><TD vAlign=top>IN FIJI, gaining weight used to be a sign of good health and attractiveness.
Not anymore. Since Western television arrived in the Pacific Island country in 1995, Harvard researchers have discovered a shocking new trend of bulimia, anorexia, and Western-style dieting among adolescent Fijian girls.

</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=center width=88 height=153>
</TD><TD vAlign=top height=153>A Harvard Eating Disorders Center study, which spanned 1995-98, found that girls who watched television three or more nights a week were 50% more likely to say they were "too big or fat," and 30% likelier to diet. In a 1998 survey, 15% of girls said they had tried to control their weight by vomiting.

Fiji currently has one TV station, which beams in programs from the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. Among the most popular programs are "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills, 90210," and "Seinfeld."

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</TD><TD vAlign=top>Researchers are also linking these trends to heightened stress. As the global economy changes, Fijians are under increased pressure to keep up. Their community-based culture clashes with the images of "rugged individualism" that Western television presents as a picture of success.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

 
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Too bad that the country that hosts the most innovations & invites the world to participate, has become the #1 addictive personality type. But, we all have one thing animals do not...the ability to choose, to decide & to will the results.

 
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Argh! That makes me so angry! I have several friends who are struggling with eating disorders, and it makes me so mad to see all the pro-ana/mia (pet names for the disorders anorexia and bulimia) encouraging young women! So sad that our nation is so set on how women should look.

 
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Having been on both ends of those scales, it is a struggle to compete with unrealistic role models & ageist mentalities that denigrate the experienced & exalt the form & excess of youth. The blessing is, once we really find out the truth, that we can choose what we put in no matter what or who is out there selling their product, the past does not have to have the hold on us we once permitted. The sad part is how long that process can take. But...the peace that comes with understanding is no match for any dis-ordered thinking process that we apply to our actions.

 
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It truly is sad, because a dear friend of mine believes that her eating disorder is the one thing she is in control of, the one thing she can control. The truth is that ED's control you, not vice-versa.

 
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I didn't realize how much ED was an escape from dealing with real life, the hard stuff some folks are taught early on or are exposed to by strong role models helps them distinguish their own capable-ness.. I was over-protected by well-meaning parents who didn't want me to grow up 'too fast' but who didn't have reliable coping skills of their own & over-reacted to stress by verbally shouting their distress, drinking too much &/or escaping into reading, smoking, other outlets that looked 'normal' but the compulsivity about it was the give-away. I've learned, anyone with a history of food issues must honestly look at their diet, what their favorite abusive foods are, & also to really look & see if anyone in their genetic tree is an alcoholic. Dr. William J. Randolph's studies back in the 1970's led him to discuss the probabliity that anyone wishing to completely rid themselves of the cravings for alcohol, had to also eliminate, at the beginning & maybe long-term, any & all food groups from which alchoholic beverages were fermented: all grains, potatoes, all fruits esp. grapes/raisans, & corn products which as corn syrup counts as all sugared products. Smokers, drug abusers, alcoholics, bulemics, etc. all have substitutions that are 99% sugar to replace the drug of choice bec. the brain runs purely on glucose & when deprived of it, goes nuts. Hence the emphasis on a clean, whole foods diet, proteins, greens, low glycemic(sugar) fruit, vegetable & soups, no flour, no grain, no fermented stuff. The cravings that start out as a possible chemical imbalance become their own drug & it looks like emotional & psychological stuff since those neuron centers become so dysfunctional from lack of nutrition, behaviors run amuk. That's another reason detox is so challenging & necessary. Our body is an engine. Give it proper fuel & the cravings, behaviors, etc. will disappear...unless the person is getting off on negative attention, being taken care of so they don't develop maturity, strength, skill & experience dealing with the big & little challenges life & relationships present. The big surprise under all this is how often the most creative, complex & ultimately attractive people are the ones who succumb to the lies from the world that they aren't. Another one is how important it is to feed our spirit the right truths that are primary nutrients. The mind/spirit operate at the speed of light - the body is much denser & slower...if we think/feel long enough in a negative direction, eventually the body will go into agreement...which is also why it takes so long to get past the damage to healing...even being miraculously delivered from ill-health in whatever form requires diligence in renewing the mind/spirit to go forward rather than back to old patterns of thought, behavior & action.

 
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Fascinating post, Gr8. Eating disorders are a complex issue. I bet each case, while it has commonalities, is also unique. I think the main issue is the need for control. No one likes to feel out of control. The media is constantly telling you that you are not good enough (you do not have control) and in our society, women often feel like they are powerless. For example, how can a 50 year old woman meet the "beauty ideal" when the ideal is the body and face of a 15 years old with a washboard tummy?

What do you have to do to have a voice ... to matter ... to be respected... even if you have an average body (God forbid)? I think the answer to having more control in your life is to create it. Maybe the key lies in establishing an internal locus of self-worth and not in relying on exogenous feedback to define you. That, in itself, is powerful.

However, we are human beings, and want to feel that we are ok. We crave feedback and attention from others. Do you see how it can get complicated? Oh dear ...



 
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Perception defies deception Cal. I agree about the control issue - the less we have the more defensive we become, passive agressive - yet, from the Christian perspective, we give up our life to Him when we become believers...& by demonstrating trust, faith-in-action doesn't mean we're not able to exercise control, rather, we have a choice as who we let control us, the world or Him. While boundaries seem to invite contention, the freedom within limits is boundless. The bottom line is choice, we're either choosing what to focus on consciously or by default, we let others choose for us, thereby giving up & letting others control our outcome. Our govenment invites more complicity with a lot of welfare programs, keeping groups of people dependent on them in the name of assistance...which in turn promotes loopholes, more deception...the lie is seen as the way things are supposed to be. Whew - getting too 'out there'. As Joyce Meyers keeps reminding me on tape through this time, we get back what we sow into...& in every moment there's the opportunity to keep moving up or take the path of least resistance & start the racket again...Lisa & I took the Weighdown Workshop 4 years ago come June before Gwen Shamblin went out on a limb with her own ideas. The basis of her work was OT Exodus, instead of taking about 11 weeks to get through the desert, the Israelites took 40 years of 'wanna do it my way' before they got to the Promised Land. We do it all the time. I like things done fast & always look for the most expedient way to accomplish whatever I'm up to - at work it's not about me. I work as admin. asst to sales & it's their wellbeing that sparks me to look ahead & keep the flow smooth...others see it as being too focused on 'my way'...after 20 years of being trained by numerous bosses in doing things their way, one learns to adapt & ignore the superfluous. Perhaps our cultural emphasis on ourselves, our addiction to entertainment, stuff & excitement has promoted 'need' rather sufficiency. In our race to acquire more, appreciation of what & who we have in our lives is diminished. Control is what is looks like on the outside, but inside is the small unwelcome knowledge of being out of control. That fear is what marketing & ads use as fodder for their grist mill. Ever notice that fall starts flu season? Why is that? What makes it different from any other time of year? I don't get the flu. Haven't had a flu shot ever. So, it's brainwashing...we get what we say...

 
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[/quote from GR8] ... Ever notice that fall starts flu season? Why is that? What makes it different from any other time of year? I don't get the flu. Haven't had a flu shot ever. So, it's brainwashing...we get what we say

=-=-=-==--==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

check this out... the flue is seasonal for a reason... lol.. tangent... I don't exactly agree 100% with the brainwashing and flu.. but I get the point you make. That we are what we think.

http://www.hhmi.org/cgi-bin/askascientist/highlight.pl?kw=&file=answers%2Fimmunology%2Fans_0 23.html

-Calif

 
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Good article - thanks for posting it. Looking at marketing strategies though, there seems to be a glut of promos for meds at specific times of year...& given our prediliection for OTC's vs prevention, we get a huge amount of subliminal programming from tv, billboards, radio, etc. Try not watching tv, reading mags, newspapers, even our online info stufff & notice for a few seasons if there's a difference in health issues, assuming you have any. I've noticed when I've gotten an -itis attack of some sort, it has consistently coincided with too much mental constipation & most of it is my reaction to stuff that may never occur (the 'what-if' questions of worry based on history rather than being present & standing on faith).

 
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The makeup industry is a good example, Gr8. Even without t.v. we have each other to remind us that we need some concealer and lipstick! Oh well. I still like makeup.

...Interesting phenomenon that you are talking about. And to think, we as Americans, gave many women in Fiji the idea that they need to look like us, be thinner, blonde, etc. It worked too! Sociology is amazing. I guess ..... conversely ... Americans influence others in many positive ways too? I'm trying to think of one. BBL. LOL.

 
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The one thing I miss most about California, the state itself, is its entrenuerial spirit; by that, I refer to a bi-coastal standing joke: if you want to know if something will fly, invent it on the west coast, try it out on the east coast, & if they reject it, you can always go back to CA & make your fortune. Lived there from 6/80 to 11/95 & truly, the ability to conceive, receive, & retrieve new ideas, ways of thinking, living, being, et al at the most far-fetched yet plausible level, is still acceptable, witness the variety & innovative (albeit off the wall) stuff that starts there & flows outward. I'm more conservative in my actions while being inventive in thought. There's a lot to be said for maintaining the original spirit of this country, earning a piece of the rock your way without government dictating every move or trying to cash in on it as if they deserve it. Wouldn't live anywhere else (maybe now that would be different) based on freedoms we still seem to have, & that is what America's lure still is to countries & people whose governing bodies control (back to that) everything. Ours does too, actually, & the marketing strategy is make it look like it's our choice (at the polls). Pretty clever no? We are the role models for most of the world for spiritual freedom, financial freedom, etc. I always thought we should look to the strengths of every country socially, environmentally, you name it, & adopt the winning models that empower that particular group, while reducing the waste of material & protecting the environment without becoming so lax or extreme. Our extremes (bi-polar perhaps?) often seem like the ones other countries either adopt or want to kill us over. Perhaps prozac isn't the answer, but a new understanding of balance would be. As to looking good? Be the best you you can. One of our body parts trying to take over control would be pretty silly...oh yeah, my eye wants to run the show, or my stomach is tired of being the inside man & wants out...imagine each leg trying to run in a different direction...all are necessary, all do different functions, all work together. Smaller metaphor for a global awareness, without one group having to annihilate another because it's different...

 
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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=629 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>Body image worries hit Zulu women

</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top width=416><!-- S BO --><!-- S IIMA --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=203 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>
South African women were influenced by media images

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!-- E IIMA -->The Western perception that thinness equals beauty is now influencing black South African women, psychologists have claimed.

Traditionally, it was seen as desirable for women to have fuller figures.

But a study presented to the British Psychological Society Conference suggests TV images of skinny Western women are having a profound impact.

Women told researchers they were dissatisfied with their bodies and wanted to be thinner.

<!-- S IBOX --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=208 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=5>
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Women want to be thin because for the first time ever, they feel they can choose for themselves what size they want to be


Julie Seed, University of Northumbria

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!-- E IBOX -->Weight was traditionally regarded as a symbol of prosperity and status in rural South Africa.

Psychologists from Northumbria University and South Africa's University of Zululand in KwaZulu-Natal conducted the research.

They interviewed 17 women, all aged around 21, from the university.

Many said they were following the Western idea of "thinness equals beauty" and wanted to be attractive to the opposite sex.

Others said they wanted to wear the latest designer fashions, which are only made in smaller sizes.

An earlier study by researchers from the universities found high levels of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes among black women in rural South Africa.

'Attraction'

Julie Seed, an expert in eating disorders at Northumbria University and a member of the team that carried out the study, said: "The most common reason given was that they are following the Western ideal of 'thinness equals beauty' because they think that this is how men want them to look now.

"The common perception is that young black males prefer thin women, and because of this, the women feel they have no choice but to lose weight in order to appear attractive to the opposite sex."

She added: "Secondly, they want to appear more modern and wear modern clothing which is only manufactured in smaller sizes.

"More traditional Zulu outfits are designed to fit all but there is the impression that in wearing these outfits they will appear old fashioned and 'like my mother', as one participant highlighted."

She said women were teased by friends and family if they were considered overweight.

But Ms Seed said many women saw being thin as a rebellion against male pressure in society.

"Women want to be thin because for the first time ever, they feel they can choose for themselves what size they want to be.

"For years, males had dictated their daughters', wives' and partners' size.

"Now, with the Westernisation of the country and the abolition of apartheid, women feel they are more empowered and they themselves have the power to choose their own size."

But she added: "This perception is rather at odds with their statements about wanting to be thin in order to attract men.

"If this is true, then it is still the males that are dictating female body shape and size - it's just at a more covert level." A spokesman for the UK's Eating Disorders Association told BBC News Online: "This certainly reflects research carried out in Fiji in the early 1990s which found that when TV arrived in the islands there was a dramatic shift in what was perceived as a good body image. "It affected self-esteem, and the incidence of bulimia rose significantly." <!-- E BO -->

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