Side Notes: Where are Eating Disorders?

Side Notes: Where are Eating Disorders?

Yesterday was National GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Day, along with National Hug a Runner Day (I hope you hugged your runner friends…I got lots of hugs working at a running store!), two of my three favorite things, obviously besides birds (duh).


(Source Source)

I have spent the last six years working in the biological field, focusing on the study of birds and now pursing the study of GIS to learn more about their spatial distributions and patterns, especially when it comes to migration and climate change. I have focused for so long on these guys and my quest to help in the environmental conservation world that GIS was always aimed in that direction.

But after a comment from a friend the other day, it suddenly switched…to the idea of where eating disorders are.  Is there a correlation, ANYWHERE, AMONG ANYTHING, when it comes to eating disorders? If we were to know any information about these things, could it help us prevent any kids, teens, or adults, men and women alike, from developing any type of eating disorder?  Anything from binge eating disorders? Bulimia? Anorexia? EDNOS?

I know from first hand experience that the majority of eating disorder cases go unreported and people are suffering by themselves to try and recover…or not.  There has been no type of national survey about who has what, where and why.  Of course, because many people go through this in secret, how could we compile a national survey like this and get a full spectrum of results?  I spent a few hours searching this morning for any scientific papers about this and when I got nothing but one article, I thought, WHY?  Why has no one thought to look into this yet?

The National Eating Disorders Association has numerous articles about how eating disorders are found across cultural and monetary boundaries, people of all ages….basically running rampant among us all.  But is there something more?  Obviously, people are conducting scientific research to try and understand if there is a genetic factor, behavioral factor or other indicators…but what about geographically?  Spatially, there has to be some sort of correlation..there has to be, right?


Surveys have been conducted and Denmark is claimed to have the happiest people…I wonder if they have as many cases of people with eating disorders as…say a state of comparable population?  What is Denmark doing, or what do their people have, that could be preventing this?  Is there something we can do here to adapt that, and save even that one young boy or girl from going through the torture of developing an eating disorder?

I would do anything, ANYTHING, in my power to help as many people as I can to prevent and recover from an eating disorder. It is not at all something I would want another person to experience; even my worst enemy.  This disease is torturous, debilitating and dangerous, and something I wish never ever came into existence.

There are so many factors when it comes to how eating disorders develop. I have talked in the past about how mine spiraled from a loss of control, and a need to fit in with my college peers, but there are so many other reasons…how can we figure out what affects it the most?

Just a thought…

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2 Responses to Side Notes: Where are Eating Disorders?

  1. sweetlesss says:

    I’ve thought about this as well and in a way am fascinated by the number of factors that go into the development of eating disorders. It would be helpful to have a map to reference when trying to connect all the dots. I’d also be interested in research looking more toward the animal kingdom to see if we can learn about the developement of eating disorders, because it is something that has been found to happen with other animals in nature. I recently read Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health and the authors devote a section ot eating disorders. This video on their website talks about it a little bit if you are interested at all: (The book talks about these situations occuring in the wild in addition to the confinement and pet situations). There is obviously a connection between living conditions and non-human animal developments of eating disorders and I wonder if their are geographic correlations with them as well? Now you’ve got me thinkig about this all again…

  2. Biz says:

    This is a very thought provoking post Mel! It does seem weird that there isn’t more research about that. I am still so proud at how far you’ve come! Happy Friday!!

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