Eating disorders and mature women


disturbi alimentazione

Credits: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

If we talk about anorexia the stereotype that comes to mind is that of young women, cute teenagers, who start to suffer from this eating disorders for multiple reasons, it is difficult to make this association with mature women aged 40, 50 and even beyond .

The phenomenon of mature anorexic women is growing so much that they have reached 3 percent (from the research of UCL), but considering that adult people suffering from anorexia tend to hide the disease and don’t visit centers for eating disorders, the number is certainly underestimated.

A 2012 study published in the scientific journal Journal of Eating Disorders revealed that about 13% of women over age 50 show symptoms of eating disorders. Percentage higher than breast cancer, which affects 12% of women.

What are the causes of eating disorders in adult women?

The main causes that lead to anorexia in adulthood are emotional stresses such as divorce, loss of a parent, problems at work, but also the growing pressure on women to be thin.

“The pressure on adult women to equate thinness with being attractive has increased in recent years, four out of five women reported being dissatisfied with their appearance,” says Dr. Shepphird, a specialist in clinical psychology and eating disorders at Los Angeles and author of  “100 questions and answers about anorexia nervosa“. More and more women today feel they are not “successful” as women if they are not skinny, which leads to an increase in disordered eating behavior.”

There is a strong association between the importance of appearance and body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. The greater the importance attached to the appearance, the greater the level of dissatisfaction of the body.

Many of the women interviewed in the various worldwide studies say they have started to control their weight after a great emotional trauma and have been complimented after weight loss, which has led them to continue to take a poor diet until to become pathological.

One third of women suffering from anorexia in adulthood can cure themselves, a third live a sick life and a third cannot survive because the adult’s body is less resistant than the young one.

All of us women should accept us for what we are regardless of weight and size and not be crushed by the aesthetic standards imposed by the media. One of the hashtags I always use in my Instagram profile is #BellaCosiComeSei (beautifulasyouare) as an incitement to appreciate our subjective beauty with any weight.



health Not Only Twenty



Rita Palazzi
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