Bulimia as a Food Eating Disorder in Teenage Girls

The culture of idealizing being thin compounded by peer pressure to fit in has increased the burden teenagers and adolescents face about how they view their bodies. Today, teenagers believe that the ideal body image is thin and anyone who has a huge body or is fat is considered imperfect (Hall, 2015). Many physiological and psychological factors compounded by the ‘perfect’ body image being pushed by the media have created a perfect storm for many teenagers and this has resulted in many eating disorders. One disorder teenagers are struggling with is that of bulimia. Hall (2015) defines bulimia as a nervosa eating disorder generally characterized by periods  of excessive overeating, that are immediately followed by some kind of compensatory behavior that may include under eating or over engaging in excessive physical exercises like spending many hours in a day running or exercising in a gym (DeFronzo, Ferrannini, Alberti, Zimmet, & Alberti, 2015). People with this kind of disorder have a phobia of gaining weight. However, many people suffering from this disorder are overweight or obese and engage in activities that will mitigate against the addition of extra weight. In the article titled “Poor self-recognition of disordered eating among girls with bulimic-type eating disorders: cause for concern?” Gratwick-Sarll, Bentley C, Harrison C1, Mond complete quantitative research on the effects of Bulimic-type eating disorders on young adolescent girls. 

The authors researched on bulimia and the engaged 139 girls into their research. The results of this study were shocking. In particular, the results indicated that 58% of all young girls suffering from bulimia did not recognize or understand they had some eating disorder, which was affecting their eating habits hence affecting their health in a negative way (Gratwick-Sarll, Bentley, Harrison, & Mond, 2016). The research found a major correlation between increased cases of bulimia and factors that influence physiological development such as stressful transitions in different phases of life when growing up, major life changes whether good or traumatic, negative body image because of poor self-esteem. Negative body image is the biggest contributor to this eating disorder. The media has been propagating being slim as the ideal or the most beautiful body size. Teenagers that are of average size or big bodied but still healthy are bombarded with slim sized images until they start believing they are ugly and not healthy, often leading to low self-esteem and negative body image (Hall, 2015). These factors play a big role in making many adolescent girls become cautious of their body image hence end up developing bulimia eating disorder. It is also important to mention that other factors that may play a big role in enhancing this eating disorder in teenagers. For instance, being in a profession or activities that focus on performances or appearance such as being a singer or a model may lead girls into developing this disorder (Gratwick-Sarll et al., 2016).

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The rate at which bulimia as an eating disorder is being diagnosed is very high (DeFronzo, et al, 2015). Unfortunately, scientists have yet to identify the root cause of the disorder. Some argue that factors such as environmental, genetic, cultural, and psychological play a big influence on the disorder. This is an area where major research should be conducted to help determine with certainty the cause of this disorder (Hall, 2015). This will play a major role in combating it, especially in young girls that are still growing up. 


DeFronzo, R. A., Ferrannini, E., Alberti, K. G. M. M., Zimmet, P., & Alberti, G. (Eds.). (2015). Obesity in Children. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Gratwick-Sarll, K., Bentley, C., Harrison, C., & Mond, J. (2016). Poor self-recognition of

disordered eating among girls with bulimic-type eating disorders: Cause for concern?. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 10(4), 316–323.

Hall, J. E. (2015). Obesity and overweight in children. Elsevier Health Sciences.


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