SIRC – Media Watch 22-10-99
Aggressive Eating Disorders
A study published in the October edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found a positive correlation between eating disturbances and aggressive conduct in adolescent girls. Furthermore, the research concluded that "The constellation of eating disturbances and aggressive behaviour is associated with a greater risk of drug use and attempted suicide." A paper published in the British Medical Journal back in March prompted a SIRC opinion piece entitled Don't put your daughter on a diet that warned of a link between dieting and a predisposition toward eating disorders. This latest information adds yet another argument into this forum for debate.
In America the tendency of television stars to be under-weight has been criticised by People Magazine as displaying an unhealthy and unsustainable body image to impressionable adolescents, the publication's cover story posing the question How thin is too thin? The story was also picked up over here with particular reference to Calista Flockhart, the actress who plays Ally McBeal and resulted in headlines such as Ally McMeal from the tabloid press. The Guardian quickly seized upon the irony that "the actress, who once starred in TV docudrama The Secret Life of Mary-Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic, is at pains to point out that she eats "whatever I want, whenever I want. I don't have a messed-up relationship with food."" Talking to the Guardian Deanne Jade, director of the National Centre for Eating Disorders said: ""It's not only irresponsible, it's deceitful. These women talk about eating whatever they like and it makes young women feel like freaks because it doesn't seem to work like that for them."