Pocono Medical Center Takes On Body Image With National Initiative Against Eating Disorders

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East Stroudsburg, PA – Pocono Medical Center (PMC) is taking a stand against eating disorders by launching a nationwide initiative aimed at lowering the prevalence of anorexia, binge eating and bulimia throughout the community. Dying to be Thin offers an inside look at eating disorders as a mental health problem and how it affects people of all ages – and genders.

“We often associate eating disorders as something that only occurs in teenage girls,” says Paulette Nish, Vice President of Patient Care/CNO at Pocono Health System/Pocono Medical Center, “but a distortion of body image can begin at a very young age, and is also seen in a growing number of men.”

Characteristics and symptoms of eating disorders can vary, some less obvious than others. Anorexia is often characterized as an excessive focus on dieting and exercising, as well as an intense fear of weight gain, among other indicators. The disorder can result in dry, yellowish skin, brittle hair and nails, and osteoporosis. Bulimia occurs when a person feels a loss of control and eats an unusually large amount of food, only to purge shortly after, losing much of the food’s nutrients.

A 2008 American Journal of Psychiatry reports that bulimia has a mortality rate of nearly 4%. Binge eating is also indicated by a similar loss of control and excessive amounts of food consumption, but unlike bulimia, it does not result in purging. Binge eating can lead to obesity and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dying to be Thin is developed by Spirit of Women and locally promoted by Pocono Medical Center. Spirit of Women is a national network of leading hospitals dedicated to improving women’s lives with innovative health and community programs. Spirit of Women Hospitals touch the lives of millions of women each year through the presentation of educational events, consumer membership programs, annual conferences, marketing communications and grassroots efforts to improve the health and well-being of women everywhere. Spirit of Women enables participating hospitals to focus on community needs while providing the strength of national support. Visit spiritofwomen.com.