Growing old is not easy in any culture, but it is particularly difficult for middle-aged women in the United States. Americans obsess about thinness and worship youthfulness. Joan Rivers’ tragic death last month was was a good example of the extremes to which women in American society will go in order to maintain these unrealistic ideals. Ms. Rivers is not alone. Remaining young and fit is getting harder all the time because of the food we eat. U.S. food is polluted with ingredients that attack the immune system, accelerate the aging process and drive obesity.
Aging is scary enough without a rapid decline in one’s health and an ever-expanding waistline. And that is exactly what Baby Boomers are experiencing today. As a result, they may be more at risk for specific eating disorders (EDs) such as Anorexia or Bulimia than in the past. This is consistent with the latest research showing a proliferation of eating disorders in the U.S. that includes older women.
In a survey conducted on the eatingdisorderpro.com website, with nearly 1000 participants, 1.2% reported that their symptoms began after the age of 50.
Unlike European countries where women are viewed as sexy into middle age and beyond, U.S. women become invisible as they age. This puts them at even greater risk when it comes to EDs as they are less likely to be diagnosed or get treatment. Anorexia nervosa has the highest morbidity rate of any psychiatric illness with 10% mortality rate at 10 years of symptom duration and 20% at 20 years. Many Baby Boomers have had their disorders for more than 20 years. The longer the duration of the illness, the higher the risk of death.
In general, the population is aging. But living longer with chronic illnesses, especially the complications of obesity and EDs that are driven by food pollution, can and should be prevented. These problems not only rob us of our health, they rob us of our dignity. Ms. Rivers died in an ill-fated attempt to preserve the youthfulness of her voice. Too many women, especially those in midlife, are feeling the same desperation.
Awareness is key. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
Do Not Eat Do Eat/Cook With
- GMO’s Organic whole foods
- MSG Grass-fed beef, poultry and pork
- Food additives Coconut oil, ghee and raw grass-fed butter
- Sweeteners Wild Caught Fish
Eating clean nourishes the body, but it also nourishes the soul, and empowers us to take charge of our health and regain the vitality that we were meant to enjoy well into old age.
About Dr. Renae Norton
A family practice psychologist for more than 20 years, Dr. Norton specializes in the treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Obesity, and the consequences of disordered eating. She’s been featured by NPR, CNN and was a five-time guest on Oprah. She coaches individuals and organizations via Skype worldwide. Visit: http://edpro.wpengine.com
Dr. J. Renae Norton
Listen to the Podcast on Eating Disorders Among Female Baby Boomers HERE.
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