Eating Disorders In The News: August 2010

Judge OKs $55K Anorexia Bullying Settlement in Pa.

PITTSBURGH —  A federal judge on Wednesday approved letting Pittsburgh Public Schools pay $55,000 to settle what's believed to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit by a woman who claims her daughter was bullied into anorexia - even though the plaintiffs now feel slighted.

The 37-year-old woman identified only as "Mary V." in court documents, and her daughter, now 15, sued last August over harassment by boys during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years, when the girl was in sixth and seventh grade.

The girl's mother now pays about $6,000 a year for the girl to attend private school, attorney Edward Olds told U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose on Wednesday. That tuition was apparently part of the reason the woman and her daughter were upset that the judge enforced a settlement agreement signed in May after a five-hour mediation session.
Read in full: Anorexia Bullying Settlement

Why Airbrushing of FashionPhotos is so Dangerous

WITH impossibly thin waistlines, they have been airbrushed to perfection.

Photographs of waif-like celebrities and models are impossible to escape as they stare out from magazine covers or TV adverts.

Now two young women from Hampshire battling anorexia and bulimia have spoken out to back a new campaign to make sure altered images are labelled.

Girlguiding UK has called for the coalition Government to force the media to take the measures to protect young women.

It says its research shows half of 16- to 21-year-old girls consider having surgery to change the way they look, with 42 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds admitting to watching what they eat. 
Read in full: Airbrushing Dangerous

 Gaga's Battles With Bulimia

She’s big news. Named on Time Magazine’s list of most influential people in the world and seller of 5 million albums and over 40 million singles worldwide, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, has made news yet again: by talking about her struggles with bulimia. This month’s Vanity Fair cover story details the exploits of pop diva Gaga, including her eating disorder.

Gaga follows a long list of celebrities who have had eating disorders, including Alanis Morissette, Amy Winehouse, Renee Zellweger, Elton John and Karen Carpenter. Celebrities are under tremendous image pressure -- pressure to be thin and fashionable. Gaga was inspired by glam artists Madonna and David Bowie who meld their music with artistry based on clothing, makeup and hair. Gaga is considered a fashion trailblazer, and receives as much attention for her appearance as she does her often synthesized music.
Read in full: Gaga's Battles Bulmia

The Unattainable Lightness of Being: Eating Disorder Madness

Is someone you know on a diet? Probably. Because just about everyone is on a diet, or at least watching their weight, or their carbs or their intake of fats and sugars. But when does normal moderation become not so normal? Is it when you start to see the outlines of ribs and bones that weren't there before? The situation doesn't have to become that extreme for someone to be suffering from an eating disorder. Over 5 million people in the United States have an eating disorder, and the majority are female. But the number is probably higher since so many cases go unreported.

We know the main names: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. But what many people may not know is how dangerous, debilitating and potentially fatal eating disorders can be. Patients with anorexia nervosa have a disturbed body image, an intense fear of gaining weight and pursue being thin at all costs. They are unwilling to maintain a healthy weight. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of compulsive eating, then purging through vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics fasting, and excessive exercise. With anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders not otherwise specified, sometimes referred to as EDNOS, extremely disturbed eating behavior becomes a viable method of altering a perceived (and usually distorted) negative body image.

The Health Risks of Eating Disorders
While it is true that eating disorders are usually, but not always, curable medical illnesses, their underlying causes are so varied and complex, they can be extremely challenging to treat. They have been found to recur within families, can result from disturbances in the central nervous system and are often associated with temperamental features like perfectionism, low self-esteem or an extreme need for control. Those with eating disorders often display other psychiatric illnesses like clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse or anxiety disorder.
Read in full: Eating Disorder Madness

Local Girl Speaks Out About Eating Disorders

COLUMBUS, Ohio --A local girl is speaking out about her six-year battle with an eating disorder and said that as college students head back to campus, now may be the time to have a tough conversation.

Julia Weisenborn is a born runner, born competitor, and surviving an eating disorder.

"It becomes very addicting and a lot of times, it's a control thing," she said.

Weisenborn was a student at Ohio University enjoying time with her friends, medaling at cross country meets and playing a dangerous game with her weight to become more competitive.

"The worst point was just after my 20th birthday. I was performing the best but I was at the lowest body weight I'd ever been…close to 80 pounds and my body just gave out," she said.

Weisenborn said she had simply stopped eating.

"I spent a night in cardiac wing and that's when I realized I needed help," she said.
 Read in full: Local Girl Speaks Out

Mary-Kate Olson: Childhood Acting, Anorexia Not Enough To Regret $100M Net Worth  

Mary-Kate Olson says she's happy and healthy after her battle with anorexia. While she says she's happy in her day job now, she looks back and feels "bittersweet" sorrow for her childhood days.

Working as a child actress as the adored "Michelle" on Full House, Mary-Kate says looking back she felt like a workhorse.

"Little monkey performers," Mary-Kate said of her past in the recent interview as Marie Claire's covergirl. "I look at old photos of me, and I don't feel connected to them at all".

 Read in full: Mary-Kate Olson

What Parents Can Do About Anorexia

Regarding the Aug. 1 article, "Wrenching Question Haunts Family After Death of Athlete, 16, from Complication of Anorexia," on the tragic death of Kingsley's Krista Phelps from anorexia:

I know her parents' sorrow. We lost a daughter who just wanted to shed 50 pounds too quickly - for her 20th high school reunion. Margaret leaned too hard on DIEuretics (aptly named) and appetite suppressants.

In just three months since Christmas when we last saw her, she had almost achieved her goal. It was to be a surprise. She did not tell us, so we could not make her more aware of the dangers of fast dieting using pills.

More books need to be written; more articles need to be read that will help teens return to the saving path of moderation. Too many kids equate moderation with mediocrity.
Read in full: What Parents Can Do