Eating Disorders, Mental Health and Body Image: The Public Health Connections

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More than 30 million Americans — women and men, children and adults — grapple with eating disorders. These complex illnesses, which include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, severely undermine health and cost lives. This event explored the many dimensions to eating disorders, including their biological bases, risk factors and treatment options. What role does body image play, and how do industries, such as fashion and advertising, often promulgate unrealistic societal standards of beauty? How might women and girls, in particular, be affected by such pressure? And what’s to be done? For example, would enacting legislation that requires minimum BMIs for models, or requiring disclosures of digitally altered ads, help? This panel included expertise in psychiatry, children’s health, policy and eating disorders prevention.

Part of The Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Forums, this event was presented September 20, 2016 in Collaboration with PRI’s The World and WGBH.

Watch the entire series from The Forum at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at www.ForumHSPH.org.

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