They didn’t cause mine, that’s for damn sure. I was sneaking cookies and wondering if I was fat before I even knew what a model was. A lot of research is now suggesting that your chances for developing disordered eating are rooted in your genes (not in the images we’re bombarded with every day). Like the findings of this interesting study by Michigan State and U. of Minnesota researchers presented at the recent Eating Disorders Research Society meeting:
The researchers looked at groups of sisters–some were biological sisters, others were adopted siblings–and found that genetics (rather than parenting style, media images, homelife, or anything else) explained a whopping 51 to 72 percent of the disordered eating behaviors in these girls. And we’re not talking only about full-blown anorexia or crazed binge eating, here. The genetics thing was also linked to a majority of the plain old bad body image and weight obsessions, too.
There’s lots of other research backing up the idea that eating disorders are hereditary. Could all this mean that some of us are just wired to get sick? Yeah, probably. Does living in a weight- and looks-focused world make it more likely that those of us who are already teetering on the edge will fall into obsession? Yeah, probably. But could pictures of models in magazines or ultra-thin women on the red carpet cause us to develop these serious illness of the brain and body?
I say no. What do you think?