Being vegetarian: An escape from the Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Most of the westernised people with Eating Disorder (ED) are turned into vegetarians further based on economic wealth few are vegans. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Well-planned vegan diets can reduce the risk of some types of chronic diseases including heart disease.
Many studies suggest that vegetarianism and anorexia are not independent but intertwined, the process may either be that anorexics turn to vegetarianism as part of their symptomology which may taint the research findings, or that vegetarianism may be an escape route for someone who might otherwise become anorexic.
According to criteria in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic (APAD) individuals with anorexia nervosa refuse to maintain a minimally normal body weight for age and height, (less than 85% expected weight); they are intensely fearful of gaining weight or becoming fat, and exhibit a significant disturbance in the perception of body weight or size. Additionally, for women, the diagnosis insists on loss of periods for at least 3 consecutive cycles. This objective criterion – amenorrhea, is lacking in males with anorexia. This makes it harder to recognize anorexia in males. However most of the studies report that males and females with anorexia behave and think in very much the same way.
According to APAD Anorexia Nervosa is a form of self-starvation, and an eating disorder characterized by a distorted body image that leads to restricted eating and other behaviour that prevents a person from gaining weight. Anorexia nervosa is sometimes referred to as anorexia.
In one survey of college students, 13% of males perceived themselves to be overweight compared to 11% who were actually overweight. A similar proportion of the females surveyed were actually overweight but 50% perceived themselves to be overweight.
Men do not aspire to standardisation of sizes like the female “size zero” and are thus less exposed to comparison based on absolutes. Women tend to pick their “ideal shape” as much smaller than they are at any weight. With regard to ideal shape, men in studies reliably select the ideal shape that is bigger (more powerful) than they are.
So it would seem that although males and females share a culture in which there are strong pressures to attain an appearance which is aesthetically pleasurable and appropriate, there are still some differences in gendered receptivity to these pressures. However, males can and do get eating disorders too.
A report from the kartini clinic is so shocking when they learn that we have patients with anorexia nervosa as young as six or seven, and, although it is rare, it certainly does occur. Why are they shocked? Because most of these folks, despite hearing me (and Dr. Tom Insel, among others) say “it’s a brain disorder”, still deeply believe that “the media” and our obsession with thinness cause anorexia. They are horrified that someone so young could be “ruined by society”. And blaming the parents for this is only a heartbeat away. No, no, I say, our obsession with thinness is ridiculous, faddish, and poorly thought-out and can immensely complicate efforts at recovery, but it didn’t cause a restrictive eating disorder.
How is AN diagnosed? - Parents, teachers, coaches, or instructors may be able to identify the child or adolescent with anorexia, although many people with the disorder initially keep their illness very private and hidden. However, a child psychiatrist or a qualified mental health professional usually diagnoses anorexia in children and adolescents. A detailed history of the child's behavior from parents and teachers, clinical observations of the child's behavior, and, sometimes, psychological testing contribute to the diagnosis. Parents who note symptoms of anorexia in their child or teen can help by seeking an evaluation and treatment early. Early treatment can often prevent future problems.
Anorexia, and the malnutrition that results, can adversely affect nearly every organ system in the body, increasing the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Anorexia can be fatal. Consult your child's doctor for more information.
Prevention of AN? -Preventive measures to reduce the incidence of anorexia are not known at this time. However, early detection and intervention can reduce the severity of symptoms, enhance the child's normal growth and development, and improve the quality of life experienced by children or adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Encouraging healthy eating habits and realistic attitudes toward weight and diet may also be helpful.