Want to know the flip side to our current obesity obsession? Increased hospitalization for eating disorders…in children! That’s right, the more society bashes the overweight, the greater the fear instilled in kids. Heavens forbid they might turn out to be…big, fat, obese. Scourges of society they’ll be–the press’ll beat ‘em, the public’ll beat ‘em, you’ll beat ‘em…and forget about what their school mates might do. Sheesh.
A new American Academy of Pediatrics report shows that among children younger than 12 with eating disorders, hospitalizations surged 119% between 1999 and 2006. This at the same time hospitalizations for eating disorders among all age groups increased 15%.
I’m not surprised as the focus on fatness–in the negative–must scare the appetite out of plenty of kids. Being inundated with pictures of emaciated models, and seeing how skinny starlets are pedastalized in magazines and on television, while normal sized ones are denigrated for being “big” would lead any kid with a normal-sized ego to an ex-lax habit.
Quite honestly, I’m much more disturbed by anorexia and bulimia than I am about obesity. Seems to me that although one might lead to a slew health problems, the other is a death wish, quick and to the point. Nevertheless, one extreme must live with the other, and so I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing a steady rise in eating disorders (and subsequent hospitalizations) in the near future.