Health Promotion

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Health Promotion

Health Promotion


According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, (2008), or ANAD, seven to ten million women and one million men suffer with an eating disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in five women struggle with disordered eating. Eating disorders do not discriminate based on race, age, or socioeconomic status. In a study conducted by ANAD (2008), 77% of individuals with an eating disorder reported managing the disorder between one to fifteen years. Eating disorders affect both physical and mental health and are often accompanied with other psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of the psychosocial effects of managing an eating disorder include depression, low self-esteem, shame, guilt, and impaired family and social relationships. The physical effects of maintaining an eating disorder include malnutrition, ruptured stomach, and damage to major organs (e.g., heart, kidney, liver), tooth erosion, and tears of the esophagus. Eating disorders can result in death, producing the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric diagnosis. Treatment is expensive and patients often require long-term or recurring treatment, due to high relapse rates. Given both its prevalence and severity, more research is required to identify specific psychological and communication factors that exacerbate or mitigate disordered eating patterns. It is necessary to consider the specific struggles and stressors individuals afflicted with eating disorders face on a daily basis and to identify and create resources that support health management and improve overall quality of life. The major objective of this topic is to assess the health promotion activity of a nurse performed for patients suffering from eating disorder problems. Therefore, all the issues related to health promotion will be discussed in detail.

Background of Eating Disorders

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, eating disorders are mental disorders characterized by extreme disturbances of eating behaviour. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third category of eating disorder is known as 'eating disorder not otherwise specified' (EDNOS) and can include binge-eating disorder, or a combination of anorexic and bulimic behaviours. Anorexia nervosa entails an extreme fear of weight gain and involves restricting one's food intake. The DSM-IV criterion for anorexia nervosa is a refusal to maintain normal body weight for one's age and height. People who manage anorexia are in a constant state of preoccupation with food and have an intense fear of gaining weight. Ways to lose weight or avoid weight gain in this context include starvation or what is referred to as restriction, excessive exercise, and purging, such as through vomiting or laxative abuse. The medical effects of anorexia can include thinning of bones osteoporosis, lethargy, amenorrhea or absence of menstruation, and cardiovascular problems. Complications from anorexia include death in 5-10% of individuals with the disease (Johnson, 2008, 55).

Bulimia nervosa similarly involves a constant fixation with food. The DSM-IV criterion for bulimia nervosa involves recurrent episodes of binge eating, or eating large amounts of food in short periods of time with ...
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