Body image, body obsession and mental health

Approximately one million people in Australia are affected by eating disorders and 63% of Australians are overweight or obese.

Have we now developed an obsession with body image because of a fear of obesity?

According to Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation who appeared on Hack Live on Body Obsession on ABC2 last night, less than 25% of those suffering are seeking treatment for their eating disorders.

Christine says the risk factors are certainly to do with a genetic vulnerability but there are also a number of environmental factors that will cause someone to become obsessed about eating and exercise.

Environmental factors are anything that drives someone to engage in extreme, excessive or disordered behaviours.
But how much of our concern about obesity is really about the health issues, and how much is body image?

Hack Live on Body Expression explores ‘Is diet and exercise a healthy reaction to obesity or are we enslaved to an obsession on body image?’.

Body image has become a huge issue for many people and it is something that affects most people at some time in our life. With the Internet and social media with physical images circulating continuously, boys as well as girls are also now being influenced by the rip and lean look that feel pressured to aspire to.

Eating disorders are most prevalent in young people and the role of the online world – it brings messages into real time.

Unfortunately there are pro bulimia, pro anorexia and pro obesity websites, helping people to develop eating disorders which contribute to compounding these illnesses.

Christine says we need to increase community awareness by educating people that it is in fact a mental health issue. We need a more educated work force – often eating disorders go undiagnosed. If an eating disorders goes untreated it has more chance of becoming debilitating. Eating disorders are a psychiatric disorder with the highest fatality rate of all mental illnesses. CLICK HERE to view the Hack Live Body Obsession show.

Body image will be discussed at the 3rd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference; Issues of the current day which will be held at Mantra on View, Gold Coast from the 16 – 17 May 2016.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE. Early bird registrations close on Monday 4th April.