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Connections in News, Media, and Research: Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Posted Feb 25 2013 12:00am

From February 24 to March 2, we observe Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Here is some news, research, and media on the subject.

  • Have you heard of "pro-ana" websites? User-generated and maintained web communities, pro-anorexia sites offer encouragement and tips for those suffering from eating disorders to continue their habits. Check out a 2007 study on functions of such websites and a 2006 study that looked at which adolescents use these sites.
  • "Recovery is absolutely possible, and with a supportive, loving family member like you on her side, the light at the end of the tunnel shines a little brighter," says an advice columnist to a girl worried that her sister has an eating disorder. Older girls give advice to younger girls on weight, body image, eating, and more on teen e-mag Rookie. 
  • Consider taking a look at teen and children's fiction about eating disorders and body image for some new perspectives on the issue. For contemporary takes, recent titles include Butter by Erin Jade Lange (YA), Skinny by Donna Cooner (YA), and Perfect by Natasha Friend (middle grade). Some classic titles include Judy Blume's Blubber (middle grade), Fat Camp Commandoes by Daniel Pinkwater (middle grade), and Life in the Fat Lane (YA) by Cherie Bennett.
  • Research in 2006 pointed to media literacy interventions as having a great positive effect on college-aged women's body image and eating disorder risk.
  • Often people point to the images of women in the media as a huge contributor to eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. A 2006 study found that girls who were more interested in fashion images had higher body dissatisfaction than those interested in fitness images, while a 2003 study considered what these images of females say to boys and what they say to girls.
  • Based on the comments on YouTube, R&B trio TLC's music video for "Unpretty" still hits a nerve with its honest lyrics about body and self image. 
  • A literary magazine consisting completely of teen work since 1989, Teen Ink has published personal narratives of teens who have experienced eating disorders, including this essay on beating it.

Do you have resources or stories to share in honor of Eating Disorder Awareness Week? Let us know.

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