Eating Disorders

Female Body Standards-

When it comes to today’s society, women are expected to be “body positive.” Many women preach about body positivity, but there are still so many who compare themselves to celebrities and knowingly or even unknowingly shame other women for their body type, which is usually something that is uncontrollable.


Teen and preteen girls have role models who sing about body positivity for curvy girls, but insult skinny girls in the same sentence. We want our daughters to grow up to be strong, but they are influenced by women who put down other women. We see body shaming on a daily basis and we let it happen without thinking twice.

  • When researchers followed a group of 496 adolescent girls for 8 years until they were 20, they found:
    • 5.2% of the girls met criteria for DSM-5 anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder.
    • When the researchers included nonspecific eating disorder symptoms, a total of 13.2% of the girls had suffered from a DSM-5 eating disorder by age 20.

These alarming statistics are from the National Eating Disorder Organization. Why is it that teen girls are shamed for everything, including their bodies, to the point that they develop a disease and put their life at risk, just to meet an image of “perfection”?

It’s time for us as a society to break the stigma around eating disorders. So many people have suffered from one of these awful mental illness in their lives. It’s likely something that many women can relate to. We should be talking about these things to our friends, sisters and daughters to make sure everyone is healthy and safe.


Male Body Standards-

Body standards in society vary from demographic to demographic. When it comes to men and a masculine appearance, people often see a strong and muscular structure. But not all bodies are made to fit the cookie-cutter mold that society forms. A lot of teenage boys who have an eating disorder fall into binge eating, rather than Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia. A survey done by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that 1.5% of adolescent boys struggle with eating disorders.

Another common sign in teenage males is an obsession with working out; though fitness is important, it should not be a constant feeling of need in their minds. Teenage boys with eating disorders are often overlooked due to more females being affected. Although a lower number of boys are diagnosed, it may be that boys don’t believe it can happen to them so they don’t look for help. Some might believe that’s life being a teenager.


Athlete body standards-

Athlete body standards have changed over time. But, one factor will never change: we’re expected to be strong and quick. In JC athletics, all body types can bring something to the table. One of the sports that suffered the most with body standards was wrestling. But, now they have clear regulations on how much weight a wrestler can gain or lose in a certain amount of time.

Athletes are pressured to maintain their bodies, whether it means bulking up or slimming down. There have been some athletes who have lost weight or gained weight to be more appealing to college recruiters. Overall, as an athlete you need to understand that maintaining a healthy weight and diet is a must. Over exercising or fasting, and/or gaining an excessive amount of weight is unhealthy. For example; Usain Bolt is 207 lbs and 6’5, which is not considered an ideal body type or weight, yet is still the fastest man and record holder in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m. Be happy with who you are and put in work for the results you want. Don’t take shortcuts because they always end up leaving you on a longer journey.

Helpline volunteers are trained to help you find the information and support you are looking for. Reach out today!

Ways to Contact the Helpline

You may reach the Helpline at

(800) 931-2237