FROM KELLY'S PSYCHOLOGY TODAY BLOG: WHY EATING DISORDERS ARE SEXIST, AGEIST AND RUN IN FAMILIES

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and it is estimated that nearly 30 million Americans suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder. That’s greater than the entire population of the top 15 cities in the United States combined, according to 2014 census data.  There are a few factors that researchers have discovered about eating disorders:

  • Eating disorders tend to be more sexist
  • Eating disorders tend to be ageist
  • Eating disorders run in families

 

Season's Eatings: Holidays can Trigger eating disorder symptoms

'Tis the season of plenty of food and drink.  While celebrating should be joyful, for some women, it’s not. All the holiday temptations can add another layer to an already complicated biological process.

It’s well known that women undergo hormonal changes every month due to the menstrual cycle. These changes can cause women to eat more, which is a natural, biological occurrence. 

However, Michigan State University Foundation Professor Kelly Klump has found that the increased food intake causes some women to become much more preoccupied with their body weight and shape. This intensified obsession can increase the risk of developing eating disorder symptoms.  

But the crux of the matter is that women are biologically wired to increase their food intake during their monthly cycle in preparation for pregnancy – it’s supposed to happen.

Klump said the changes in food intake are all part of a natural, evolutionary process. Each month, the female body undergoes a menstrual cycle marked by changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Monthly fluctuations in hormones cause women to increase the amount of food they eat and also causes emotional eating, which is the tendency to over consume food in response to negative emotions.

“In our culture, we tend to view any increased eating by a woman as a negative thing, even when that gain is biologically and evolutionarily driven,” Klump said. “This is a potentially dangerous chain of events that could lead to serious and life threatening eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This can be especially problematic during the holidays.

 

From Kelly's Psychology Today Blog: Evolution tells us to "eat up"

It seems cruel to think about, but are our bodies aiding us in developing an eating disorder? Unfortunately, the answer for some women, is yes. These disorders can manifest themselves in many forms and can even be brought on by genes and hormones in women’s bodies.

At certain times during the month, women are at a greater risk for experiencing eating disorder symptoms. This is due to varying hormone levels—namely estrogen and progesterone—that are present in a woman’s body across the menstrual cycle.

Kelly Klump, MSU Foundation Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University

Kelly Klump, MSU Foundation Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University


KELLY FEATURED IN QUARTZEATING DISORDERS ARE ABOUT SCIENCE, NOT VANITY

It seems cruel to think about, but are our bodies aiding us in developing an eating disorder?  Unfortunately, the answer for some women, is yes. These disorders can manifest themselves in many forms and can even be brought on by genes and hormones in women’s bodies.