Eating Disorders Research Proposal

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However, one common criticism of this and other studies of eating disorders is that even the designation between 'full blown' and 'subclinical' eating disorders can feel somewhat arbitrary. The DSM-IV has extremely specific, numerical criteria for what constitutes an eating disorder -- such as binging and purging at least twice weekly over three months for bulimia. Rates of clinically-identified bulimia would be much higher if the limits were raised to once a week (Ford 2003). The requirement of amenorrhea or cessation of menstruation for anorexics is an irrelevant diagnosis for males and can result in lower diagnostic rates for boys and men for the disorder. Additionally, even young women who are on the pill and artificially menstruate because of hormonal supplementation alone may be excluded simply on this basis (Ford 2003).

It should also be noted that even though eating disordered literature and hospital admissions focus on anorexia nervosa, and to a lesser extent bulimia, Bing Eating Disorder (BED) affects around 2% of the population, at a comparable rate to other EDs. The degree to which there has been an increase in BED is even more difficult to measure than anorexia, given that BED was only identified as disordered behavior and classified in the DSM very recently. The rapid increase in obesity does suggest, however, that the disorder is increasing given that being overweight is one of the primary symptoms of the disorder.

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Perhaps the most significant finding has been in twin studies, comparing manifestations of all of the major eating disorders in twins. One study of the Australian Twin registry found that 59% of variance is genetic and 41% is non-shared environment related regarding eating disorders (Ford 2003). This supports the notion that the media, including dieting literature, cannot be entirely blamed for the rise in eating disorders. Conversely, however, it also underlines that subclinical and clinical symptoms can be environmentally related, given the clear impact of non-shared environmental factors in eating disordered behavior.

Research Proposal on Eating Disorders Is There a Assignment

No clear causal factor has emerged as 'the' reason for the increase in eating disorders; rather it seems that a constellation of genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the development of EDs. However, the evidence does suggest that a preoccupation with thinness and past engagement with 'extreme' dieting behaviors does increase the risk of an individual's likelihood of exhibiting ED-related behavior, even if the full-blown illness is not manifested. One of the most comprehensive studies to date was the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health on 14, 686 female adolescents. The study subjects were "randomly selected from the National Medicare database, with over-sampling from rural and remote areas, [and] responded to a questionnaire seeking dieting and health information…High frequency of dieting (rather than dieting per se) and earlier dieting onset were associated with poorer physical and mental health (including depression), more disordered eating (bingeing and purging), extreme weight and shape dissatisfaction and more frequent general health problems" and one in five women with a BMI below 18.5 (underweight) admitted to going on a diet (Kenardy, Brown & Vogt 2001).

Although environmental factors alone cannot cause an ED, the growing prevalence of eating disordered-behaviors suggests that the need to communicate healthy attitudes about weight and body image is an essential part of any public health campaign designed to prevent eating disorders. Merely focusing on weight loss is not enough. A balanced attitude towards food and a positive attitude towards the body are essential to reduce the sobering increases in eating disorders, particularly amongst the impressionable young members of the population.


Clark, Jill. (2007). National dieting craze blamed for rise in eating disorders.

The Age. Retrieved June 27, 2011 at

Eating Disorders. (2011). Australian Psychological Society. Retrieved June 27, 2011 at

Eating Disorders. (2011). Women's Health. Retrieved June 27, 2011 at

Ford, Sarah. (2003). Understanding and treating eating disorders.

InPsych. Retrieved June 27, 2011 at

Kenardy, Justin, Wendy J. Brown, & Emma Vogt. (2001). Dieting and health in young… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Eating Disorders" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Eating Disorders.  (2011, June 27).  Retrieved June 22, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Eating Disorders."  27 June 2011.  Web.  22 June 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Eating Disorders."  June 27, 2011.  Accessed June 22, 2021.