Is thin beautiful?

Is thin beautiful? for reasons that are unclear, some people especially young women develop potentially life-threatening eating disorders called bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa . People with bulimia , indulge in eating binges (episodes of eating large amounts of food) and purging (getting rid of the food by vomiting or using laxatives). People with anorexia, called anorexics, severely limit their food intake. About half of them also have bulimia symptoms. There is no prescribed treatment for the two conditions. But, scientists have now found that the best therapy for these disorders could be provided by specially-trained parents.

The hype over events such as fashion shows and the resulting publicity, fame and money has created a tremendous craze among young girls to be figure conscious. Between 1922 to 1999 winners of Miss America pageants showed a height increase of 2 per cent and a weight decrease of 12 per cent setting a global trend for thin is beautiful.

Defects in key chemical messengers in the brain may also contribute to the development of these disorders or their persistence. Many girls frequently find their condition progressing towards bulimia where they go on a binge and vomit as many as 20 times a day.
Most people find it difficult to stop their bulimic or anorexic behaviour without professional help. If untreated, the disorders may become chronic and lead to severe health problems, even death. Thousands of teenagers die every year. There are no medicines approved specifically for bulimia or anorexia , but several, including some antidepressants, are still being investigated.

Early treatment is vital and can be life-saving. As the disorder becomes more entrenched, its damage becomes less reversible. For years, parents of anorexic girls have been told to avoid arguments over food and give up their unsuccessful battle for control over their daughters' bodies. But the trend is changing. One such couple walked into the Children's Hospital of Michigan recently with their bone-thin daughter. Patricia T Siegel, a pediatric psychologist at Children's Hospital in Detroit, decided to try out a new therapy with food as a medicine which the parents had to administer under the guidance of doctors.

Their child had starved herself down to 39 kg. To save her life, therapists put her parents in charge of preparing and dispensing meals planned by a dietician. The kid was never forced to eat

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