Monday, March 27, 2006


Usually I like Sunday mornings with the paper, peace and quiet and croissants but I had the thing in shreds with barely suppressed rage. Apart from the fact that news other than stupid dropping to the ground athletes didn't start until page 210, the paper was full of noxious items and noxious photos, like Blair and Howard cosying up. Please someone make sure they have the seats with the fireworks underneath.

Noxious item number one. Our starving school kids. At least 30 percent of students are going without food at school. Boys apparently are too busy playing sport but girls don't want to be seen eating because of this myth that being thin is beautiful. They keep full by drinking water which is one thing I've noticed when I travel, every teen seems to carry a water bottle.

According to dietitian, Alison Walsh, this behaviour could trigger eating disorders or lead to obesity, with students bingeing on junk food after school.
Adolescent psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg wants the State Government to introduce healthy sit-down lunches.
Nutritionist Dr. Rosemary Stanton said schools should have access to dietitians and psychologists.

All worthy ideas but how will they overcome peer pressure? Who is going to counteract the brainwashing of TV commercials, stick thin actresses and trash magazines that offer 57 varities of diet every week all with the message that a rounded figure is bad, malnutrition rocks. Added to this is the rise of cigarette smoking in teens because that old myth is still alive and kicking, that smoking keeps you thin.

Noxious item number two. Six times as many people are booking in for weight-reducing surgery as were admitted five years ago. This is for laparoscopic bariatric surgery which is having a silicone band fitted below the oesophagus where it joins the stomach, creating a tiny pouch. If you eat too much, you throw up. The meals have to be minced or creamed and I've known women who have liquified chocolate bars to get a sweet fix. This is one of the problems of this surgery, it doesn't change the life style just the amount of food consumed. If the surgery is reversed for any reason, the weight will gallop back on.
The Victorian Government has earmarked $800,000 this financial year for more lap-band surgery to reduce waiting lists and offset the spiralling costs of obesity on the health system.

The last item isn't quite so noxious but it ties in with the above. A new clinic has opened in Melbourne to treat sufferers from anorexia nervosa and bulimia. This treatment is revolutionary in that it concentrates on the physical characteristics of the disorders. The doctors believe that the disorders are not psychological which is at odds with most experts.

Sufferers do not recover from eating disorders, they go into remission. At the moment it's not covered by the major health funds. If the Health Minister is so worried about women's health then what about looking at putting treatments for these problems on medicare.

Claire Vickery, founder and chief executive officer of the Butterfly Foundation, a support and education group, said that Australia has fantastic therapies but people can't afford them.
Eating disorders are becoming more and more of a problem not only with females but more males are admitting to having a problem. They can and do die from eating disorders.

I would like the guilt removed from all of these disorders. I would like people to stop pointing fingers and pushing blame when they should be showing support. I'd like TV shows, diets and airbrushed photos of impossibly skinny models banned from magazines, but fat chance of that
ever happening.

Eating disorder helpline: 9885 0318 1300 550 236


Blue said...

Here here.

My kids school makes them eat before they go outside - of course this is primary, don't think it will work for HS. They are doing stuff on exercise & healthy eating. One small step for peoplekind....

JahTeh said...

My local Primary did the same thing and our canteen started off very health consious. Unfortunately the canteen had to close because too many parents had to go back to work.

Natalie Dillon said...

I think the problem is that as you point out some of the most beautiful (and beautifully dressed) women on earth are seriously underweight and their photographs are everywhere. It is very difficult to counteract this in the minds of sensible self confident adults let alone insecure teenagers.

I reckon the only solution is for governments to restrict films with actresses that have a BMI of under 18 to the over 18s! After all if children have to be protected from images of sex and violence perhaps they should also be protected from images that make them think that beauty and severe malnutrition are one and the same.

Initially this might not have much of an effect but film directors and studios would soon insist their leading ladies put on a few kilos if it meant being able to target their film at a family audience.

Perhaps once Hollywood's elite looked a bit healthier the culture of not looking like a starving famine victims might catch on with other celebrities.

Probably wishful thinking but who knows.

JahTeh said...

I keep remembering that film 'Gentlemem prefer Blondes' and the voluptous figures of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. They looked fabulous.