According to the national eating disorder association 42% of first to third grade girls want to be thinner, 81% of ten year old girls are actually afraid of getting fat and over 50% of teenage girls and a third of teenage boys have used radical and troubling weight control methods such as fasting, skipping meals smoking vomiting or taking laxatives. These statistics are incredibly worrying.
Simple dieting can be harmless when done correctly, but the use of extreme methods can be signs of mental illness, especially when taken to the extreme. Eating disorders arise from body dysmorphia, and the main two manifestations that arise are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
These illnesses are commonly associated with OCD and anorexia is estimated to have the highest mortality rates from any psychiatric disorder.
In order to successfully treat the sufferers of eating disorders and body dysmorphic diseases, we must first accept that they are psychiatric and psychological disorders and not a physical illness, and we must start treating it accordingly.