Negative body image and body dissatisfaction can lead to a number of health problems such as under eating and over exercising. These can be linked to low self esteem issues and the want and need to become skinnier and more attractive. 90-95% of eating disorders occur among women and this can be caused by the idealisation of being thin in todays society (Powers, 2015). Media is one of the largest contributors to body dissatisfaction due to people being bombarded with images of perfect but unobtainable men and women. This can cause obsessiveness over trying to loose weight and become like these people in the magazines and on T.V. But with use of photoshop and enhancements it just isn’t possible.
Mentalhealth.org.uk states that 1.6 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. The most common of these being anorexia and bulimia, which not only affect physical but mental health too. Anorexia is a mental health disorder in which symptoms include not eating enough, loosing weight rapidly, being conscious about calorie intake and having worries over food in general. It causes people to compare themselves to others and become obsessive in what not only they look like, but others too. Anorexia can lead to depression, feeling weak, not being able to get pregnant, lack of sleep and difficulty concentrating (Youngminds.org, 2015). Many women use their weight as a measure of self worth, so things such as anorexia can be a way to get in control of their body and increase self esteem. Bulimia is also another common mental health problem, similar to that of anorexia it is about being in control of the body and the focus on being satisfied with overall body image. Bulimia is when an individual binge eats on fattening foods, and then makes themselves sick or uses laxatives to get rid of the foo due to feeling guilty. This can lead to health problems such as corrosion of teeth, dehydration, heart problems, excessive exercise, muscle spasms and weight loss. It is highly based on thoughts and feelings as people are extremely secretive about what they are doing.
It is important to get help when facing any of these mental health problems. Being dissatisfied with your body and developing unhealthy eating and exercise habits can lead to a long list of health problems. Increased awareness of these issues may help prevent individuals from comparing themselves to others, unrealistic models and celebrities.
Mentalhealth.org.uk, (2015). Eating Disorders. [online] Available at: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/e/eating-disorders/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].
Powers, P. (2015). Eating Disorder Services: What is the Link Between Exercise and Eating Disorders?. [online] Eatingdisorders.org.nz. Available at: http://www.eatingdisorders.org.nz/common-questions/what-is-the-link-between-exercise-and-eating-disorders/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015].
Youngminds.org.uk, (2015). What is Anorexia – Anorexia Support – YoungMinds. [online] Available at: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_children_young_people/whats_worrying_you/anorexia/what_is_anorexia [Accessed 29 Apr. 2015].