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Word Count: 653
An eating disorder is defined as a preoccupation with dieting and thinness leading to excessive weight loss Ten years ago the number of teenagers who suffered from eating disorders was less than 500000 Today there are more than three million teenage girls in the US alone being stricken with diseases such as anorexia and bulimia The alarming fact is that more than 15 of these girls will die There are a number of different causes behind the developement of eating disorders The stress put on young girls by the opposite sex and the fact that young girls face constant exposure to the be thin message from television movies fashion magazines and the diet industry Yet the number one factor that runs through more than 95 of eating disorder victims is the issue of mental illness Day in and day out young girls deal with so much pressure from the opposite sex In a poll taken in 1997 80 of five thousand men claimed they perceive the perfect woman to be tall and thin They also said that their idea of tall and thin was 510 130 pounds In reality that description fits less than 5 of the population Young men sometimes give girls a terrible self-image of themselves Sometime the harmless words of an adolescent boy can lead a girl with low self-esteem to a dangerous eating disorder Take a look a one of todays fashion magazines The definition of skinny is perceived in every picture Not too long ago Marilyn Monroe was the absolute icon of beauty Today a Hollywood casting director would tell her to come back when shed lost some weight Todays standards of beauty are anorexic looking models and movie stars like Calista Flockhart of Ally McBeal Twenty years ago models weighed 8 less than the average woman today models weigh 23 less than the average woman The pressure to be thin is greater than ever and young girls are
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