Hot Topics: Eating disorders, weight worries still stalk women after 50, study findsWomen’s worries about weight and shape and the frustration of gaining 5 – or more – pounds don’t disappear in middle age, according to a new study that finds that body image problems and eating disorders persist at age 50 and well beyond.
By: Source: Today.MSNBC.com, INFORUM
Women’s worries about weight and shape and the frustration of gaining 5 – or more – pounds don’t disappear in middle age, according to a new study that finds that body image problems and eating disorders persist at age 50 and well beyond.
“We’ve become so conditioned to believe that this is a problem for the young,” said Cynthia M. Bulik, an eating disorders expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “There’s almost the prejudice: ‘Haven’t you grown out of that yet?’ ”
Indeed, no, many women have not outgrown the constant struggles with food, body size and shape typically associated with teenagers and young adults, according to an online study released Thursday of some 1,849 women whose ages ranged from 50 to past 85. The median age was 59.
About 13 percent of women older than 50 reported bingeing, purging and other symptoms of serious eating disorders, and many said they used diet pills or excessive exercise to control their weight.
“Eating disorders and weight and shape concern don’t discriminate on the basis of age,” said Janice Bremis, 56, of San Jose, Calif., whose teenage struggles with anorexia came roaring back 15 years ago after health problems and a divorce. “As I have aged, it has become much more difficult to cope with this.”
Just as telling, Bulik found that about 70 percent of women in their middle and older years were currently trying to lose weight, with more than a third who said they’d spent at least half the time in the last five years dieting.
What SheSays: According to this study, if you have an unhealthy body image now, it’s likely to follow you for much of the rest of your life. Now is the time to accept yourself, no matter your shape or weight. Life isn’t meant to be spent wishing to be a different size.