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Monday, 8 August 2011

Amy Winehouse: New Poster Girl For Anorexia?

I did wonder if Amy had an eating disorder and while everyone made a fuss about her drug abuse, she really may have succumbed as a result of eating disorders rather than drugs. Yesterday, writing in the Times, Caitlin Moran described how little Amy ate (just Haribos, it seems) and how much exercise she did (treadmill for hours apparently). Moran writes “with an eating disorder like that, you’d have all the tolerance for drink and drugs of a newborn baby”.

Winehouse’s eating disorder was as clear as the nose on your face, it hardly matters whether it was anorexia or bulimia, the damage can be just as bad. Drugs are nirvana for people with eating disorders because you just don’t get hungry. When you go into rehab, you just feel fat when the drugs wear off, or you get very hungry as their effect starts to wane. This makes recovery feel very unsafe, so having eating problems gets in the way of being on the wagon.

Why do I feel cross; Winehouse was the queen of cool for some people, the girl on the edge, who wasn’t supposed to care what people thought. But all the time, behind that bravado, her real pain was the pain of everyone else who has an eating problem, the wish for absolute conformity by being as thin as all the other poster girls like… Cheryl Cole. I wish she had the courage to come clean about it, to help those she has left behind.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Children With Anorexia

There is a new little girl in our family and like many people I hope that she will not start worrying about her weight by the time she is only 5 years old.
Children as young as 4 or 5 can notice the weight of other children and silhouette studies dating back for at least 30 years show that fatter children receive fewer nominations to be a chosen playmate. I have asked why this is so and haven't had any good insights from my colleagues. After all, size zero pop stars are a recent phenomenon, aren't they?  So let's just assume some atavistic reason why even young children stigmatise the overweight.
I have been aware for many years that nursery school age children can complain about their simply caused by the wish to be thin, and it generally shows its ugly face in children who are deeply anxious and burdened with a wish to be perfect in all things. Having parents who are open about their food and weight issues or dietary quirks doesn't help.
Tanya Byron writing about children and body image troubles in the Times pointed out that obesity is a major health risk to children and this should not be forgotten in the current panic about anorexia. Our children are getting more obesity and more anorexia it seems, how on earth will we get the balance right?
The BBC want to find some families with children who have had, or have anorexia. If you know someone who would be prepared to take part in a documentary, contact The National Centre for Eating Disorders on 0845 838 2040 or email admin@ncfed.com