As a pediatrician who treats adolescents with eating disorders and a public health professor who studies how best to prevent them, we often encounter a similar arc in young girls that we see struggling with an eating disorder. : the start of college causes pressure to be thin. These girls then start trying to lose weight in any way they can, resorting to many unhealthy behaviors, including restricting food intake and vomiting. If they’re not taken quickly enough, many will need to be hospitalized with severe weight loss and dangerously low electrolytes. Some may need to be transferred to residential treatment centers for additional support.
While such therapies and interventions are successful in helping young girls regain their health, there are steps we can take to prevent them from reaching such a dangerous state in the first place.