"Eating disorders are the epidemic of the 21st century," warns Adi Barkan.

Studies find a significant positive correlation between the pathology associated with eating and body image and media exposure to harmful advertising messages (Walzer, Katz and Spivak, 2013).

About ten percent of the young women in the world suffer from eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia are the main diseases that characterize the disorder (Walzer, Katz and Spivak, 2013). These are the worst representations of eating disorders.

The risk factors are multi-dimensional and include references to family and social-cultural aspects of life. Eating disorders are more common in the Western culture, but anorexia nervosa is common in different percentages also in developing countries. Bulimia nervosa, however, is still more common in Western society (Latzer et al, 2008).

What is Anorexia?

Those who suffer from Anorexia are afraid to gain weight so they actively suppress their appetite, to extreme weight loss. This is one of the most dangerous mental illness, fatal in 8%-20% of cases. There are two common types of anorexia. The first percieves the body as very fat, although it is lean, and so starves himself; Other frequently eat at short intervals and then vomits, often with the help of external means. Both types tend to perform excessive physical activity.

Anorexia can damage patients' physical development, impair bone density and cause heart disease, infection and damage to liver function, neurological disorders, gastrointestinal infections and death. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental disorders.

Why you should pay attention to:

Someone around you trying to lose weight to the level of starvation and suffering from malnutrition. More than 50% of patients with anorexia suffer from some degree of depression, and a quarter of them suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

What is bulimia?

A common mental disorder characterizing patients with low self-esteem. This disease is characterized by binge eating, followed by straining to empty the patient's body from food, usually through initiated vomiting. According to some estimates, about 20 percent of the girls in the Western world suffer to some degree from bulimia nervosa.

People suffering from bulimia can suffer from reflux, dehydration, blood salts imbalance up to cardiac arrest and death, inflammation of the esophagus, irreversible damage to the mouth and throat, tooth injury, Gstrofrazis (paralysis of the stomach), constipation, impotence, infertility, ulcers, and more.

Why you should pay attention to:

If someone around you obsessed with the number of calories, deals too much with his/her weight, works out until there is no time for anything else; If a person suffers from low self-esteem in parallel and / or depression, low blood pressure, going to the bathroom often and if a woman has irregular cycles. Sometimes there is physical complications to bulimia that can be identified, such as tremors, irregular pulse and muscle weakness.

Knowledge base and links

Watch a (Hebrew) video about Ilanit Elmaliach, who passed away weighing 22 kilograms.

Read about Eating Disorders on the ANRED website

Read about Anorexia on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders website

Read about Bulimia on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders website

IAED - Israeli Association of Eating Disorders