As spring break approaches, so do ridiculous diets and body image issues as girls prepare for “bikini season.” In today’s society, young women are taught that beauty is based on the size of one’s clothes rather than one’s character, creating the idea that everyone should fit a certain physical expectation. This influences young women to take drastic measures in order to meet these standards.
In the city of Johns Creek, Instagram accounts have been flooded with updated weight loss pictures and the most recent method of dieting. These young women have become obsessed with the number displayed on the scale and will continue to do so because they are only receiving compliments from their peers about their appearance. However, what people don’t understand is the chronic effect that extreme diets have on these girls. Diets begin with smaller portions, and if results aren’t seen initially, more extreme approaches are taken such as solely consuming smoothies or the “military diet,” which consists of a minimal number of calories allowed per day. In addition to the lack of nutrition provided by these diets, young women also participate in vigorous exercise which can have unhealthy side effects such as dizziness, fainting or nausea. However, a bigger problem is emerging among the teenage girl population: eating disorders.
Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. It is estimated that 4% of anorexic individuals die from complications of the disease. Unfortunately, 50% of teenage girls today use unhealthy methods of dieting to control their weight and are moving towards developing anorexia along with other mental illnesses like bulimia or binge eating. This is a significant problem in today’s society that must be solved in order to ensure the health and confidence of young women.
Solving this problem begins with awareness. Friends and family members must step in and explain that extreme dieting at such a young age is unnecessary. These girls must also be aware of the beauty they possess despite how much they weigh. No teenage girl should feel uncomfortable in her own skin, and this issue can be easily solved if the public is made aware that it exists in the first place.