Eating Disorders (Encyclopedia of Science)
Eating disorders are psychological conditions that involve either overeating, voluntary starvation, or both. The best-known eating disorders are probably anorexia nervosa, anorexic bulimia, and obesity. Researchers are not sure what causes eating disorders, although many believe that family relationships, biochemical (physical) abnormalities, and society's preoccupation with thinness all may contribute to their onset.
Eating disorders are virtually unknown in parts of the world where food is scarce. They also are rarely seen in less prosperous groups in developed countries. Although these disorders have been documented throughout history, they have gained attention in recent years. This attention has come, at least in part, because some famous people have died as a result of their eating disorders.
Young people are more likely than older people to develop an eating disorder. The condition usually begins before the age of 20. Although both men and women can develop the problem, it is more common in women. Only about 5 percent of people with eating disorders are male. In either males or females, eating disorders are considered serious and potentially deadly health problems. Many large hospitals and psychiatric clinics have programs designed especially to treat these conditions.
The word anorexia comes from...
(The entire section is 1937 words.)
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