Anorexia at 8 years old
November 9, 2008 4:54pm CST
I'm just watching a programme about an eight year old who has anorexia. Apparently this disease is hitting children at a younger and younger age. This programme is very disturbing as the child they are following is saying things like "a voice in my head told me it was bad to eat ice cream", and "[I didn't eat because] I wanted to die". Another child admitted that she liked the bones that she had when she was thin. It's so sad seeing these children just wasting away, and losing the will to live. Why are anorexia sufferers getting younger? I think that some of it is probably due to the media; even in kids' programmes the actors are beautiful and have perfect figures, and the same with popstars, and in magazines aimed at their age group it's the same story, and there are probably features on beauty and staying fit etc.. which probably also push the "perfect" image. Everywhere they look they see this unattainable beauty. However, I know this isn't the full story. Anorexia isn't just about body image; it's about being able to control something, in the way that you perhaps can't control some other aspect of your life. Anorexics normally have problems other than body image. This programme is saying this too, and they're trying to figure out the real reason why eight-year old Dana started to starve herself. Given that it's not just about getting thin, why are more and more kids starving themselves? Have young children got more problems now than they had in previous generations? Is it maybe because they're different types of problems? Or did children always have as many problems, but today's kids are finding it more difficult to deal with them? Do kids just have less support than previously? I'd love to know the answers to these questions. It's something that worries me as I have a young daughter, and I'm sure that other parents worry about this issue as well. I'd be very interested in what others think about this. At the moment I'm just so shocked and saddened by this programme, and I'd like to hear some other thoughts on it.
2 people like this
10 Nov 08
I understand what you're saying, and you make some good and wise points, like why deliberately make myself depressed and saddened? I do like to watch happy and inspiring things, but I like to watch things that educate me about what's happening in the world today, even if some of that might be depressing. I think it's also quite useful to educate oneself about health matters; horrible things like anorexia happen in the world, (no matter how much we might try to ignore them), and learning about such an illness may allow us to help or better understand somebody who has it, now or in the future. Thanks for your interesting comment.
• Quezon City, Philippines
9 Nov 08
That is indeed alarming to know that 8 year olds are also falling victim to these psychological problem. I just hope that people would just realized how food can help them grow and make them healthy. It is really hard to figure out what runs in the minds of anorexic and I guess most of it is as varied as the number of cases.
10 Nov 08
Yes, I'd never heard of someone so young becoming anorexic. I agree; I wish that everyone would realise that food is a good thing! One of the girls on the programme said that she decided to lose weight because of all the health messages she was seeing everywhere - like eating 5 portions of fruit and veg each day, having low-fat meals, eating brown bread rather than white etc etc. She was 8 at the time. As she got scarily thin and became very ill, she realised that she was doing the opposite of what she had set out to do. She was one of the lucky ones who realised this. I suppose that now more than ever, young people are also being bombarded with images of stars who are anorexic themselves (after the recent size zero phenomenon). This must be a factor. Although, like you say, the cause is probably different for each person. Thanks for your answer.
1 person likes this
• Quezon City, Philippines
11 Nov 08
Well of course its nice that she is aware of these things like the portions but she would also be aware that she is too young to think about those things. Just enjoy her childhood and eating too. This is one good thing about childhood especially those born healthy they could enjoy many kinds of foods that for adults are not appropriate already.
18 Nov 08
I just find it obscene to hear that eight year olds are suffering from anorexia. i do blame the television and other media for inputting false values and beliefs in the minds of the viewers, especially in the young minds that watch their pop starts on tv.
18 Nov 08
Yes, it's completely shocking. It seems that there are probably all sorts of causes for this, (and likely to be a different combination of causes for each person), but I also think that the images that are in the media these days must be at least partly responsible. Yes, TV, magazine and pop stars all have to be perfect-looking, and most are very thin; and if that's all you see it must have an impact.