A recent study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders has found that 70% of women over the age of fifty years are trying to lose weight, with a small number trying to do so through purging, bingeing, diuretics or laxatives. The study is proof that not only younger women suffer from eating disorders with 62% of those women surveyed believing that their weight negatively impacted upon their lives.
The study, entitled “Body Image in Women 50 and Over – Tell Us What You Think and Feel”, asked around 1800 women in the USA their opinions on their body. The author, Dr Cynthia Bulik, stated that “…there is such pressure on older women to look younger… Everything is about looking younger, trying to stay thin and attractive, whether that means surgery or cosmetics… that leads them down the path of unhealthy eating and dieting behaviours.”
Almost half of the women surveyed checked their weight daily, with the other half weighing themselves multiple times through the week. Over 7% of the women used diet pills and excessive exercise in an attempt to lose weight and 1% admitted to vomiting, a sign of bulimia. Almost three quarters of the women wish for a better overall shape and an incredible 84% wanted a flatter stomach.
Dr Bulik concluded that “…eating disorders and weight and shape concerns don’t discriminate on the basis of age.”