Eating Disorders in America: Media Aren’t the Only Ones to Blame

A 40-year-old with cancer, a 20-year-old drug addict, the exercise fanatic at the gym whose ribs stick out: all of these people hold something in common. They stand a strong chance of passing on their disorders to their children.

According to Dr. Roberto Olivardia, a psychologist and instructor at Harvard Medical School, predispositions for eating disorders are often passed down genetically, not unlike cancer.

“Even identical twins who were reared apart both can deal with eating disorders,” said Olivardia.

According to Olivardia, people who fit the criteria for OCD also tend to be more likely to suffer from Anorexia. On the other hand, people who fit the criteria for ADHD, are more likely to binge eat or become Bulimic.

“If you have that predisposition and environmental triggers, it’s a perfect recipe for an eating disorder,” said Olivardia.

The media and parental pressures still play a large role in whether or not someone manifests an eating disorder, according to Olivardia. At the same time, a genetic family history increases one’s risk significantly.


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