According to new research from Dr. Cynthia Bulik the women most affected by an eating disorder are between the ages of 25 and 45. "What we found was 6 out of 10 reported some sort of distorted eating behavior," Bulik explained.
Bulik's finding are highlighted in this month's Self magazine. The disorders range from calorie counting to secret eating and more extreme disorders like binging and purging. Something Tish Lindberg struggled with more 17-years.
"I got tired of depriving myself so I ate and then I'd get disgusted so I'd throw it up." Lindberg says her eating disorder stemmed from her relationship with her bulimic father.
Dr. Bulik says society is another factor. "We're in the middle of this obesity epidemic and were at a time when it's not cool to have flaws. So I think people are really resorting to desperate measures to reach this cultural ideal of thinness."
Issues dealing with food and eating don't just affect young women despite the stereotype. Researchers at Chapel Hill say eating disorders are found across the spectrum. Dr. Bulik explains, "As much in the 25-year-old as we did in the 45-year-olds and these behaviors did not discriminate on the basis of ethnic backgrounds either."
The prominence of disordered eating behaviors in women doesn't surprise Lindberg. "It's not anything new I think it's just we're more aware of it now and I quit hiding it years ago."
Doctors say the good news is it can be treated and Lindberg is living proof. She says you can change the way you think about eating.