Eating Disorders

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Adolescents, especially females, may develop disordered eating behavior out of a desire to have a thin appearance (73-76). Western culture teaches youth that females must be very thin to be beautiful, a concept persistently advocated by movies and magazines glamorizing the ultrathin woman (73,74). Approximately 0.5% females in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries in Europe develop anorexia nervosa, often between 13 and 15 years of age (74). It is the third most common chronic disease of adolescent females, after obesity and asthma. Lifetime prevalence for bulimia nervosa varies in different surveys of Western countries, usually from 1% to 4% (74,76). Bulimia nervosa usually develops between 17 and 25 years of age. Eating disorders develop from a complex mixture of genetics, biology, and sociocultural phenomona. (74).

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