Causes of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are explained by a complicated interaction of cultural, social, biological (genetic) and psychological factors. No single factor can therefore be held accountable as the "cause." Against the backdrop of a culture that idealizes thinness, eating disorders are often initiated by seemingly innocent dieting, and depending on the above-mentioned factors, can ultimately evolve into chronically disordered eating. However, the relationship is not a simple one: initially, for example, a young woman with anorexia nervosa may be inspired by an ideal of thinness, yet admittedly becomes divorced from the issue of aesthetics as the illness progresses. Similarly, to conclude that dieting causes eating disorders is too narrow an explanation.

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