Eating disorders may affect 10 to 15 percent of women, according to researchers from the University of Montreal who say their findings are "disquieting."
"Our results are disquieting," says Lise Gauvin, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. "Women are exposed to many contradictory messages. They are encouraged to lose weight yet also encouraged to eat for the simple pleasure of it," said researcher Lise Gauvin.
Surprisingly, of the 1,501 women who took part in the survey, not one was classified as anorexic. The average age of the rurban-dwelling participants was 31 and the majority of respondents were non-smokers and university graduates.
Dr. Gauvin says the study sheds new light on binge eating and bulimia, which are characterized in part by excessive eating accompanied by feelings of having lost control. "About 13.7 percent of women interviewed for this study reported binge eating one to five days or one to seven times per month," she says, noting 2.5 percent of women reported forcing themselves to vomit, use laxatives, or use diuretics to maintain their weight or shape.
Another finding of the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, was that 28 percent of women complete intense exercise twice a month with the sole objective of losing weight. "We practice a sport for the pleasure it provides, to feel good, but when the activity is done to gain control over one's weight and figure, it is indicative of someone who could be excessively concerned about their weight," says Dr. Gauvin. "Our data suggests that a proportion of the female population displays maladaptive eating patterns."
Exercise addiction similar to heroin
Low-carb diets causing brain damage?
Culture Of Blame Surrounds Obesity
Source: University of Montreal