Eating disorders are considered unique among psychiatric disorders in the degree to which social and cultural factors influence their epidemiology and development. The nature of the eating disorder syndrome and the fact that it clearly merges with the prevalent and the culturally acceptable behaviour of dieting called for an interpretation that is grounded in the culture we live in. The phenomenon was therefore understandably linked to the cultivation of a certain type of body ideal and the promotion of thinness values through media, fashion, and diet industry. Subclinical cases or partial syndrome that merge with normal dieting behaviour were generally estimated to be five times more common than the full-blown syndromes (Dancyger and Garfinkel 1995).The finding was consistent with the ‘spectrum hypothesis’ of eating disorders and ran parallel to reported steady increase in the rate of their occurrence in the latter half of the 20th century (Lucas et al. 1991).
Chapter. 5138 words. Illustrated.
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