It is disturbances in eating behavior that involve maladaptive and unhealthy efforts to control body weight.

Eating disorders often begin in childhood or adolescence.

In some extreme cases of wrong preconceived notions and thinking, certain serious eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia occur.

Eating disorders imply clearly the adverse effects on the body due to either ignorance or intentional. The ignorance about nutritive value of food items generally causes several types of diseases and inefficiencies in the body.


The eating habits generally develop according to taste, custom or availability of food. And these factors invariably determine the level of nutrition. It is well known that there is no single food item which can give all the nutrients.

Hence, combinations of various food groups arise. But on account of ignorance generally the food taken is not a balanced one. People goods on taking the preferences developed or habits formed.

This leads particular diseases among certain specific tribes. For example rice eaters generally suffer from Beri-Beri.

The intentional eating disorders are caused either (i) due to under-eating to keep oneself slim or (ii) over-eating resulting into obesity. An attitude to remain slim is acquiring dangerous trend among young girls. Even though food they eat is balanced one, but they intentionally take lass quantities.


This causes a retarded growth and improper development of bones and structures. Its adverse effects cause serious problems in future, because certain minerals and nutrients taken during adolescence help to maintain body for entire life span.

On the other hand, overeating causes obesity which occurs on account of eating whatever is available whether it is nutritious or not. The result is that in spite of enough eating, the person’s efficiency is low and many other deficiency diseases develop.

(i) Anorexia Nervosa

It is an eating disorder involving intense fears of gaining weight coupled with refusal to maintain normal body weight.


People with this disorder pursue the goal of being thin, no matter what that does to their health. They often have distorted feeling of their own bodies, believing that they are much heavier than they really are.

So they starve themselves to the point where their weight drops to dangerously low levels. It is more common among females than males.

Society emphasis physical attractiveness for females more than for male, adolescents and young women feel tremendous pressure to live up to that images off beauty shown in the mass media- to be as thin as the models. It may induce malnutrition and deficiency related problems. If not treated in time, can lead even to death.

(ii) Bulimia Nervosa


It is an eating disorder in which individuals engage in recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by some form of purging.

Thus the individual eats huge amounts of food within short periods of time-followed by some kind of compensatory behavior designed to prevent weight gain.

This can involve self-induced vomiting, the misuse of laxatives, fasting or exercise in excess that it is potentially harmful to the person’s health.

The cause of bulimia nervosa appears to be similar to those of anorexia nervosa. Once again the ‘thin’ is beautiful idea seems to play disorders tends to decrease with age, at least for Women. Men in contrast may be more at risk for such problems as they get older.


(iii) Obesity

Obesity is a disorder in which an excess of fat accumulates in the body. The degree of obesity is measured by comparing height and weight ratio with the standard measurements.

The increase of childhood obesity:

1. Lifestyle factors including diet, eating habits, levels of physical activity as well as inactivity are often adopted during the early years of life.


2. As childhood obesity is strongly linked to obesity in adulthood, the best time to address the problem is early in life.

3. Current fast food and beverage marketing practices put kids’ long-term health at risk.

Factors Leading to Obesity

(a) The more or excess intake of calories than actually required.

(b) Genetic cause-It’s a hereditary character.

(c) Habit of eating too much.

(d) Failure to control appetite and to adjust with less energy requirements.

(e) Psychological feature-Those who feel secluded or discontented.

(f) Disturbances of glands such as thyroid and pituitary.

Some tips on winning the battle of the bulge are:

(i) Avoid high-calorie snack foods:

A handful of potato chips or a small order of fries can contain hundreds of calories. Yet these high-fat snacks don’t tend to make you feel full. Avoid such foods as much as possible.

(ii) Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry:

It is all too easy to get into the habit of eating whenever you watch TV, study, or sit down to talk with friends. If you must, munch on something; eat a piece of fruit, or drink some coffee or tea. These drinks contain natural substances that tend to reduce appetite.

(iii) Avoid temptation:

Don’t be a ‘see food eater’ – when you see food around you eat it. If you encounter attractive appetizing foods, look the other way to and get off from there fast.

(iv) Exercise:

Exercising vigorously will help you burn calories, while it improves your health. Exercise regularly.

(v) Drink water with your meals – and not cola drinks. A glass of cola drink means 200 calories.

(vi) Don’t give up– If you have succeeded in losing weight don’t quit. Make it a habit to maintain proper weight.

(vii)Don’t succumb to fad diets:

The best way to loose weight is to reduce the amounts you eat and do exercise that suit you.

Body weight

Weight is one parameter of health. A healthy normal person reaches the desirable weight for his/her height by 25 years age. When energy intake is equal to body needs, body weight is maintained at a fairly constant level, in a healthy adult.

Consistent intake of inadequate food which is unable to meet the body’s need for energy, leads to use of body fat to make upon the deficit and there is loss of weight.

Under weight:

An under weight person has reduced capacity for work, low vitality and decreased resistance to disease.

Over weight:

Continuous intake of energy in excess of one’s needs, results in deposition of fat. If this practice continues, the gain in weight will result.

Over weight is associated with ailments of heart, circulatory system, kidneys and diabetes.