According to a 2012 report, the National Eating Disorder Association reported that over 10 million women in the U.S battle anorexia or bulimia, with 15 million more women struggling with a binge eating disorder. Recent studies have also shown a high correlation between eating disorders and service members. In a nine year review, the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine reported that from 1998-2006 the number of diagnosed eating disorders among services members doubled and a large majority of those diagnosed were Marines.
The female population has had a public struggle with self-image and eating disorder issues for years. The National Eating Disorder Association published 2012 research which suggests female service members are 4% more likely to develop an eating disorder than females who do not serve in the military. It is believed there are many reasons that contribute to the high-risk factors of eating disorders among female Marines and other service members.
Members of any branch of military service know that their job duties include maintaining peak physical conditions. Physical strength and endurance are needed to boost one’s job performance, but the pressure to fit the physical mold of a top-notch marine can cause an individual to put their physical health in harm’s way. Both woman and men can feel an immense amount of pressure to lose unhealthy amounts of weight in order to do what they believe is their duty. With regular weigh-ins and standards, the pressure to remain fit may not subside. Unfortunately for many women, the need to be fit is often misconstrued as the need to be skinny.
The intense pressure and stress that is a part of being a marine can also distort an individual’s sense of reality. As a woman, it can seem that, since she is representing the U.S. Marines, she is being watched and judged by the whole world. Wanting to feel and look the part, many women go to great lengths to reach that goal, which can involve anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. In some instances, women in the Marines may feel like they have to overcompensate for their gender and work even harder than their male counterparts to feel respected by all. This feeling can spur behaviors that involve excessive exercise, extreme dieting, binge eating and other self-destructive behaviors.
Anorexia poses many potential dangers to the average individual. For members of the Marines and other military branches, these potential consequences put them at high-risk because of the demanding work they perform. The effects of anorexia can cause impairments that prevent a Marine from safely performing his or her duties, which puts the individual and those around him or her in harm’s way. The most common health dangers of anorexia among women in the Marines include the following:
While women in the military are known for using their strength to help others, they must not forget that they have the strength to help themselves. If you are ready to overcome your battle with anorexia or other eating disorders, we are here to help. Call our toll-free helpline now to speak with a recovery professional who can help you find the treatment and recovery services that meet your individual comforts and needs. Professionals are ready to answer your questions, provide information and help guide you through this process. You are not alone. Call for help today.