Eating Disorders Plague Older Women, Too

Time to stop thinking it's a youth problem: researchers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 21, 2012 11:06 AM CDT
Eating disorders don't "end at age 25," says an expert.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's commonly believed that eating disorders "end at age 25," says an expert—but new research shows that's far from the case. Indeed, some 13.3% of women 50 and older reported battling symptoms of such disorders. It's an issue "all doctors need to be aware of regardless of a women's age," says the lead author of the study, which finds that some over-50s are facing the issue for the first time, USA Today reports. And the weight and body-image woes don't end there:

Some 79% of the 1,849 women surveyed said their bodies affected their overall self-image; 41% spent time every day examining their own shapes. And 36% spent at least half of the past five years on a diet. Researchers were particularly concerned about the 8% subjects who reported purging in recent years; the behavior occurred even among 75- to 84-year-olds. Authors blame a "constant bombardment of messages to look perfect," as well as concerns centered on older women: "Divorce, loss, children leaving home, children coming home" and other issues can prompt eating "as a way to regulate mood." (Read more eating disorder stories.)

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