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Interesting article from the "Broadsheet" column on Salon.com

Study: Most women "disordered eaters"
Self magazine -- publisher of headlines like "The 10-Calorie Secret," "Drop Weight, Look Great and Never Go to the Gym" and "Shortcut to your Best Body," as the F-word pointed out -- just published an alarming survey of disordered eating among women. Holy hypocrisy! In all fairness, though, Self is one of the least culpable among women's glossies and certainly deserves credit for undertaking the study with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Now, brace yourselves for the results of this survey of 4,023: Sixty-five percent of women ages 25 to 45 engage in disordered eating, "such as skipping meals or cutting out food groups." (If skipping a meal doesn't register as particularly unhealthy, note that these are cases in which the women say it's "associated with emotional and physical distress.") In addition, 10 percent of women report behaviors consistent with anorexia, bulimia and binging. Other findings, as summarized by the press release:


--67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight
--53 percent of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight
-- 39 percent of women say concerns about what they eat or weigh interfere with their happiness
--37 percent regularly skip meals to try to lose weight
--27 percent would be "extremely upset" if they gained just five pounds
--26 percent cut out entire food groups
--16 percent have dieted on 1,000 calories a day or fewer
--13 percent smoke to lose weight
--12 percent often eat when they're not hungry; 49 percent sometimes do


Cynthia R. Bulik of the UNC School of Medicine added a rotten cherry to this sickening sundae: "More than 31 percent of women in the survey reported that in an attempt to lose weight they had induced vomiting or had taken laxatives, diuretics or diet pills at some point in their life. Among these women, more than 50 percent engaged in purging activities at least a few times a week."

I believe this calls for a moment of feigned naiveté: Will the study's findings -- particularly that most female dieters are already at a healthy weight -- impact future health and beauty coverage by Self and the rest of the glossy gang?



Fri. Apr 25, 8:00am

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PT participant survey

I wonder how we all stack up to these questions? Here are my answers. (As you can see, I think I don't even understand some of the questions.)

-67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight
YEP

--53 percent of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight
If "healthy" means "within 'normal' BMI," which is a wide range, YEP

-- 39 percent of women say concerns about what they eat or weigh interfere with their happiness
NOPE

--37 percent regularly skip meals to try to lose weight
NOPE

--27 percent would be "extremely upset" if they gained just five pounds
YEP - well of course I would be upset if I was trying to lose weight and gained 5 pounds

--26 percent cut out entire food groups
Does being a vegetarian count? If you were vegetarian before you started to lose weight?

--16 percent have dieted on 1,000 calories a day or fewer
NOPE

--13 percent smoke to lose weight
NOPE

--12 percent often eat when they're not hungry; 49 percent sometimes do
And the rest are lying! I don't know anyone who doesn't SOMETIMES eat when they're not hungry. When Mom (or whoever) makes you something you are not going to offend her by not even having a bite!

Friday, April 25, 2008, 8:16 AM

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PT participant survey


-67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight
YES

--53 percent of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight
I'm still overweight technically (no longer obese - yay!)

-- 39 percent of women say concerns about what they eat or weigh interfere with their happiness
YES

--37 percent regularly skip meals to try to lose weight
NO

--27 percent would be "extremely upset" if they gained just five pounds
NO - I'm trying to make lifestyle changes...as long as the trend is down longterm, 5lbs is a drop in the bucket

--26 percent cut out entire food groups
NO

--16 percent have dieted on 1,000 calories a day or fewer
NO

--13 percent smoke to lose weight
NO

--12 percent often eat when they're not hungry; 49 percent sometimes do
Depends on the definition of "often". I guess I used to be often, now I'm sometimes.



Monday, April 28, 2008, 10:34 AM

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Media portrayal

I find 8:00's closing question a fair one. Too often in the media we are shown women whose hip bones we can see and whose thighs do not touch. Both Shape and Self subscribe to this image. What irritates me further is that the women are mainly Caucasian. What about some variety to represent the cultural diversity in our country as well as the shape diversity? As much as I used to love these magazines, once I realized how one-sided their portrayal of "healthy" women really is, I stopped buying them.

Monday, April 28, 2008, 11:21 AM

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