Eating Disorders in Today’s Youth

Samantha Esparza

Social media during the time of the COVID pandemic has been especially eminent. People are documenting their lives almost every day as either a source of income or just for fun. Many influencers putting out different types of media are aimed at the youth of today’s society. This can range from elementary school to high school, or anyone with a phone or source to the outside world really. There are so many ways to fake your life on social platforms. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the crazy and fascinating lives of others.
Many can often find themselves comparing their own lives and schedules to the ones you see on your screen. Being dissatisfied with one’s life and body image is something that has become more and more common in the past years. It’s no surprise people begin to grow unhealthy habits when it comes to their overall appearance and mannerisms. Today’s society is coercing the idea of a skinny picture perfect body to teens all around.
Around 28.8 million Americans will develop an eating disorder in their lifetime (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders). These days social media affects the lives of everyone. News can spread like wildfire, and video after video getting millions of likes are something we see over 100 times a day. Wanting to be a super influencer, having brand deals, and getting tons of likes is something a lot of teens want. To say that the majority of advertisements, shows, and movies promote the thin and fit body ideal constantly is nothing but the truth.

During the past three years, with COVID cases spiking and people stuck in their homes, they begin to feel the pressure and anxiety. It’s definitely no help to see so many things on media platforms body-shaming, and promoting only one type of ideal body. It’s not even being thin, and tall. It’s also being fit at the same time, having a perfectly toned body is essential as well. Many people add pressure onto themselves constantly everyday, urging themselves to get skinnier and fitter in such an unhealthy amount of time. Adults, and figures many kids are putting their trust into, promote such unhealthy ways of getting “societies #1 body type”.
For many students involved in athletics, there will be a constant line between being thin and having a well toned body as well. The urge to eat healthy and lose weight while also gaining muscle to help you exceed in your sport is very unreasonable. For a teen going through their most important developing stage, the tolls that all of these standards put on the young minds will impact them for the rest of their lives.

It’s important to mention that social media isn’t the only cause of eating disorders, all these platforms have simply increased their presence significantly in these times. Such negative body images cause nothing but low self-esteem, and unrealistic expectations for young teens. Athletes, models, and other influencers only show their perfect self on any type of worldwide media site. While social platforms have gradually started to change, and more and more people are accepted for who they are and given equal representation, it is still extremely important to become aware of the fact that not everything on social media is real.

For more information on body dysmorphia or eating disorders visit:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders
https://bddfoundation.org/