Eating Disorders Plague Older Women, Too

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

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." (More eating disorder stories.)

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