The Daily Chomp

Does Society Influence Eating Disorders?

By Selena Heldic, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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How many times have you been watching TV, and a commercial regarding rapid and guaranteed weight loss comes up? Or how about the times you’re standing in line at the grocery store, surrounded by fitness magazines and healthy food recipes? What about browsing through your social media and always running into advertisements concerning miracle supplements and photographs of thin, fit people that are considered to be “body goals”?

Our society is obsessed with the idea of being “fit.” It’s obsessed with the idea of helping people change their bodies into what is known to be socially acceptable.

There are hundreds of weight loss and nutrition programs out there with the intentions of slimming you down and making you feel better. Additionally, there are tons of commercials that advertise supplements, pills, teas, or wraps that help with losing weight. Along with that, there are public gyms set up in almost any town/city for people to go to in order to better their bodies.

All of these are contributors in helping you too, not only get your ideal body shape, but society’s ideal body shape as well.

Although I personally agree with the idea of getting into shape, developing a healthy lifestyle, and bettering yourself as a person–sometimes society has the wrong approach.

As soon as a man or woman is not seen with what is considered a “good” or ideal body, they’re immediately body shamed. People nowadays feel pressured and/or forced to have that specific body society expects from them. These particular standards can lead to a large number of people having confidence issues, low self-esteem, and even more serious problems such as depression or the development of eating disorders.

Regardless of some scientists believing that eating disorders rarely have anything to do with environmental influences, I somewhat disagree. There are, indeed, many cases where eating disorders are caused by genetics, irregular hormone functions, stress, trauma, etc. However, I believe the most common cause is from the negative perspective people tend to form regarding their bodies, which sprouts from the desire of fitting in with societal preference.

Even though there are obvious, healthy alternatives to achieving a certain body shape, there are still people who unfortunately fall into the unhealthy and dangerous dietary habits, mostly due to the pressure from society.

I believe society should continue to encourage the healthier lifestyle, but not force it upon people. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and it should be embraced, not shamed.

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Does Society Influence Eating Disorders?