Body image dissatisfaction is normative among females in the United States and is growing among males—even among preadolescents. The array of mental illnesses known as eating disorders are strongly influenced by, and manifested in, body image concerns.

Eating Disorders

According to the American Psychiatric Association's authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), “Eating Disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior.” These include extreme overeating (either continuous or in binge episodes), severe restriction of food intake (to the point of starvation), and binge eating episodes followed closely by extreme purging behaviors. These symptoms are accompanied by feelings of extreme distress about body weight and shape.

The single best predictor of risk for eating disorders is gender. Females are much more likely than males to develop ...

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