Eating Disorders Start Young, Says Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla AhlgrimmMarch 4, 2018 marked the end of Eating Disorders Awareness Week. But, as Marla Ahlgrimm points out, the issue is one that must be acknowledged throughout the year if we are to make any impact on the number of females – mostly teenage girls – affected by this complex mental disorder.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains there are three primary types of eating disorder: binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia. An individual with a binge eating disorder may experience uncontrollable urges to overeat and then immediately feel guilty for the food they consumed. Bulimia is characterized by eating then soon after force-vomiting in an effort to forgo weight gain from eating too much. Anorexia, which is perhaps the most dangerous eating disorder, presents as an irrational fear of weighing too much. Typically people who are already underweight suffer with anorexia.

According to Marla Ahlgrimm, eating disorders can trigger multiple complications with a person’s health, including heart failure and death. Likewise, binging and purging is typical with bulimia and binge eating disorders can results in oral hygiene conditions due to the mouth’s exposure to stomach acid.

Eating disorders often come about during a person’s early teen years. Teens even slightly overweight may be bullied or harassed by thinner class members, leaving them self-conscious and concerned constantly over the numbers on the scales. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that parents and other adult role models can help these young sufferers take a stand by encouraging healthy eating habits and behaviors. By setting a good example, adults can show the children in their lives what a healthy relationship with food and  weight looks like.

Marla Ahlgrimm laments that bullying over a person’s weight is not likely to go away anytime soon. While eating disorders have always been an issue, the advent of the internet and people’s reliance on social media makes it much easier for a teen to be exposed to weight-based harassment.

© 2018 Marla Ahlgrimm. All Rights Reserved.