eating disorders in older women: surprising new statistics
Turn on the TV, flip through a magazine or log on to the internet, and there's a good chance someone will be talking about eating disorders. A mental illness that directly affects around 8 million Americans, eating disorders are a common concern surrounding teen girls and young women. But a new study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, shows that eating disorders like binging, purging, anorexia and excessive exercise is more common in women 50 and over than thought previously. In fact, 13% of older women suffer from eating disorders — some for the first time in their lives.
Are these surprising new statistics due to changes in a woman's body as she enters her 50s? Hormones, belly fat, bone density concerns -- it can feel like we aged decades practically overnight, leaving many women with feelings of anxiety and depression over a body they no longer recognize. But, interestingly enough, other women 50 and over actually say their body image has improved as they age, feeling like they've let go of unattainable expectations, instead focusing more on health than vanity.
Has your body image changed as you've gotten older? Are you more self accepting or fighting to hold on to your much younger self?