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Burton High Stories: Eating Disorders

Adrienne, a senior at Burton High School
Adrienne, a senior at Burton High School

Students studying health sciences at Phillip and Sala Burton Academic High School in San Francisco worked with KALW radio to share their perspectives on health issues and solutions. Adrienne, a Burton High senior, decided to talk about eating disorders and how social media can make the problem worse.

Hi, my name is Adrienne and I’m a senior at Burton High School in the Academy of Health Science.

A Trigger warning: I will be talking about eating disorders in teens.

So many people around me, including myself, have struggled with eating disorders and have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have seen how damaging this can be and how people are mentally and physically affected by eating disorders. The impact of social environment and social media are extremely harmful, especially to young children who then grow up or develop low self-esteem. It's so painful to see so many teens go through the same thing at such a young age, 2.7% of teens in the US between 13 and 18 have eating disorders and 90% of teens with anorexia are female (polaristeen). Most teen’s bodies have not even fully developed which is even more harmful to their health.

most of my friends and family have some link to eating disorders. For example, I have cousins and friends who struggle with body image issues like body dysmorphia or low self esteem can lead to anxiety and have been given a hard time by family or relatives in their lives which completely destroyed their perception of their body image and caused them to start fasting

Social media and unrealistic beauty standards play a huge role in the development of eating disorders and low self-esteem. This can cause extreme damage to someone’s confidence and view of themselves. Some solutions could be to limit the amount of social media consumed and interaction on certain platforms like Instagram. Psychotherapy is also a good way to support teens with eating disorders mainly because it helps build self esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve social and community functioning.