Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD, FACOG
If you’re like me, you don’t get to scroll through your Facebook feed or check out the top stories on your Apple News page as much as you might like to. So, it is all together possible that you missed the hubbub about the Anorexia sweatshirt. Yes, you heard me right, the Anorexia sweatshirt. The sweatshirt, produced by ArturoBuch, has the word Anorexia emblazoned on the front followed by a facetious definition of what this disorder is. It says and I quote, “Anorexia: Like Bulimia, except with self control”. Okay, lets start with the actual definitions of Anorexia and Bulemia.
Anorexia is defined as “An emotional disorder characterized by obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat”.
Bulimia is defined as “An emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting”.
Hilarious, right? Both Anorexia and Bulimia are medical conditions and much like Breast Canceror Stroke not really fodder for tasteless jokes. Thankfully I think most of us can agree that this sweatshirt is abhorrent so let’s spend more time talking about what is really important.
Eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia, are way more common than most people think. In fact, up to 2% of women suffering from one or both of them. Put into real numbers, that is close to 30,000,000 women in the US alone who suffer from an eating disorder and that is likely an underestimation. For most sufferers, these conditions are chronic but statistics show that Anorexia and Bulimia kill 25 US women every day. And despite ArturoBuch designing their so called “Anorexia Styling Hoody for Women”, up to 1% of men also suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia or both.
So let’s make it very clear that this is not the picture of an eating disorder:
This, is the picture of an eating disorder and it is no laughing matter:
If you or someone that you know is or may be suffering from an eating disorder, help is available. You can contact NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association, by calling 1-800-931-2237 or you can visit their website at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org. If you are in a crisis situation, you can text NEDA to 741741.