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Social Factors Contributing to Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders are not a new phenomenon. In Western medicine, Anorexia Nervosa was first described in the 17th century, and cases of these conditions have been described in various cultures throughout the ages [ref].

However, contemporary Western culture seems to be unique in the extent to which thinness is emphasized as a virtue for women and to which images of idealized thinness are massively disseminated via the popular media. Moreover, in the past few decades the ideal body shape for women has been getting increasingly thin [ref].

These powerful cultural forces are thought to increase the chances of women developing Eating Disorders [ref]. In fact, there is evidence that symptoms of Eating Disorders are correlated with the extent to which women are exposed to popular media images of thinness [ref].

 

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Diagnosis

Biological Factors