Target: Dr. Sarina Grosswald, Board Member of the National Women Veterans Association of America
Goal: Raise awareness about the prevalence of eating disorders in female military personnel
While the prevalence of rape and sexual violence against women in the military has become more widely known and is starting to be addressed by military officials, another problem faces women in the military that others must also be made aware of—deadly eating disorders.
Women in the military not only struggle with the unrealistic conventional beauty standards that most women strive toward, but they are also under incredible pressure to remain in shape and meet certain fitness requirements set forth by the military. This doubled body-image pressure placed on military women leads, in many cases, to bulimia, anorexia, and excessive exercise, a problem that the military does not address or offer proper medical and psychological treatment for in the field. Demand that the National Women Veterans Association of America take a stand to raise awareness about this serious issue facing servicewomen.
One female Navy veteran, Andrea Chandler, put it this way, “Because of the culture of fitness, some eating disorders are actively enabled. Someone perceived as watching their diet and working out will get high praise right up until they’re too weak to work out. People who are perceived as overweight or borderline overweight will particularly be encouraged in disordered eating.” Awareness must be raised about this issue in order to inspire the military to take action, implementing a greater understanding of eating disorders into military training in order to provide proper treatment and support.
A recent study exposed in Military Medicine reveals that women in the military suffer from bulimia, one type of eating disorder, at nearly six times the rate of the general population, and also suffer from anorexia at a higher rate than the average civilian woman. The military is certainly the cause of the increased pressure to be thin, and therefore must take responsibility by raising awareness and implementing a solution to support women dealing with eating disorders in the military. Disordered eating should not be encouraged, as anorexia and bulimia can cause long-term serious health-problems, and can even result in death.
Ask the National Women Veterans Association to take the lead in raising awareness about this important issue facing military women.
Dear Dr. Sarina Grosswald,
Eating disorders are a well-hidden problem among military women that needs to be exposed and treated. Women in the military suffer from bulimia at nearly six times the rate of the general population, a serious problem caused by the military’s pressure to be fit and meet certain physical standards. Please take a stand to raise awareness about this important issue, and find ways to support women in the military who are suffering from eating disorders.
The military culture can sometimes misinterpret disordered eating, and actually encourage it as a means to achieving the fitness expectations set forth. Please educate military personnel about this issue so they might be informed enough to identify the signs of an eating disorder and treat it properly. Eating disorders are very dangerous and can cause long-term health problems and even death. Support our female military heroes by raising awareness to put an end to eating disorders.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Matanya via Wikimedia