Societal pressures eating disorders


Man is a social animal. Every person has three facets to his perosna, one that he knows about himself, another is what others know about him, and the third is what he wants others to know about him. The last said, is the cause of all kinds societal pressures. At every stage of a person's life, there is pressure on a person to be perceived in a particular manner by society. A person who is having an overweight or obesity condition, also faces social stress.

How these pressures are created.

Society has a peculiar habit of advising. Any person who is seen to have any kind of a problem will get un solicited advice from every second person.Naturally, an obese person, draws quite a bit of attention and gets all kinds of advice, suggestions, therapies. With all these, comes the pressure of expectations from society that the person will act upon these suggestions and become a perfect example for others to refer to the next guy on the block.
Coping with such expectations creates stress, and a normally obese person tries to mask his actions. Eating in public view may or may not be his normal dietary routine. I once knew a youngster who was a day boarder in high school and considered overweight. Social pressures within his peer group in school, to look good, athletic and fitter, compelled this teenager too start skipping the two meals he were to have at school. While at home, his mother would have none of his desire to reduce food intake, so he was under another pressure to consume all that was on is plate. Once back in his room at night, he would try and throw up all that he ate. Unfortunately, even this, his other found out and made sure he couldn't flush after dinner. The poor fellow, determined as he was to do away with the intake, concealed plastic bags under his bed, and threw up in these to dispose off in the mornings. Now, if we look at the stress under which the youngster, barely 16, was put through, we understand the situation as below

Social pressure number 1 - At School to look good and fit.
Eating disorder No1 - Compulsive fasting, unplanned and indisciplined.
Result - Under eating, loss of weight, low energy levels, dangerous if unchecked.

Social pressure number 2- At home, to eat heartily so that mom is happy.
Eating disorder No. 2 - Undue overeating and subsequent, simulated expulsion.
Social Pressure No.3 - Not to be seen throwing up.

Social Pressure No4 - to hide the plastic bags and dispose later.

As we see from above, the outcome of all this was no doubt a serious medical condition for the poor fellow and he had to be undergo a prolonged re-habilitation.

Social pressure can induce eating disorders, which may further cause health disorders and even in certain cases, long lasting adverse psychological imprints, especially in growing children.

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