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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Eating Disorders: The Fear of Fat

Click to listen to this taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The year 2008 could be difficult for people struggling with eating disorders and for the family members, counselors and employers trying to help them.

One need only look at the cover of today’s fashion magazines and tabloids to see why. Female celebrities and even some male stars aren’t just slender, many are dangerously thin. Sadly, this has a big influence on young women, who try to emulate these stars.

In fact, research shows that more than 90 percent of people who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25. And the number of older women, men – and even young boys – with eating disorders is growing as well.

When eating behaviors become obsessions, the physical consequences can be severe, even deadly. Those with anorexia, for example, can suffer irreversible medical conditions like heart disease, kidney failure and even brain damage.

Employers should encourage their employee assistance programs and company leaders to be familiar with signs and symptoms of eating disorders among workers. With a combination of psychological and behavioral therapy, eating disorders can effectively be treated and cured.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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