The societal causes of eating disorders cannot be ignored when considering the increasing numbers of people who are suffering from eating disorders. Societal norms regarding how we should look and behave, as well as subconscious forces of sexism, discrimination, fatphobia and others heavily influence eating disorders.
The societal causes of eating disorders
The largest contributor to eating disorder development is most likely the society in which we live. The societal causes of eating disorders surround us – everything we do, say and think is, on some level, in alignment with societal norms. The most dangerous part about this is that we don’t realize that society drives the way we think – we believe we are in full control of our ideas. Marketers and advertisers have known for centuries how to tap into our societal insecurities and beliefs in order to get individuals to buy what they are selling, and eating disorders are a byproduct of many of the messages our society intrinsically believes – even when they have been proven factually wrong. As parents, we must maintain attention on the societal factors that drive our children, ourselves, our families and our communities. Click here to jump to articles about society and eating disorders.
The media and eating disorders
Our children face a drastically different media landscape than we did. The advent of smartphones and social media have transformed the way we communicate and get information about what it is to have a “good life.” Our children encounter billboards, magazines, and television that promote a single body type as the ideal and almost universally deride people who live in larger bodies. Coupled with social media, in which people regularly edit their images, promote only positive elements of their lives, and directly sell and promote diet products and approaches, our children are living in an extremely distorted and fatphobic environment. We can’t change the environment in which our children live, but we can limit what comes into our own homes, and we can talk to our children about how they consume media. Click here to jump to articles about the media and eating disorders.