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Preventing Eating Disorders by Promoting Healthy Weight Management and Health

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Youssef Harraq

Among rising rates of obesity, healthy weight loss is a common and elusive goal. A prevailing misconception is that the most effective method to lose weight is to eat as little as possible. However, research does not support this idea. Extreme dieting may result in disordered eating with severe consequences. Eating disorders disproportionately affect adolescent girls and young women, as they are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa than men with an average age of onset around fifteen (Morris, 2007). Anorexia nervosa is when individuals severely reduce calorie intake to lose weight and maintain low body fat due to a distorted body image (Morris, 2007), which often results in starvation. Starvation occurs when calories are severely restricted to fewer than required to maintain health over a period of time (Stratton et al., 2010). Diets involving severe calorie restriction often result in poor health (Stratton et al., 2010) and slowed weight loss long-term (Dullo, 2021). Severe lack of nutrients in starvation conditions negatively affects skin, hair and nail growth, hunger regulation, and immune functions (Eva, 2021), which may lead to death. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate among all mental health disorders (Morris, 2007). To preserve the remaining nutrients available and survive, the body prevents further weight loss by slowing the metabolism resulting in decreased overall energy. Intermittent fasting may be confused with starvation. Intermittent fasting is a healthier method of weight loss that alternates between specific periods of eating and fasting while meeting nutritional and caloric needs (Eshghinia, 2013). Intermittent fasting reduces body mass index and glucose metabolism (Cho, 2019.) Thus, intermittent fasting is beneficial for health (Su, 2021). The goal of this paper is to summarize the literature on the use of starvation diets by people who are anorexic, and promote a comprehensive intervention approach for healthy and effective sustained weight management. The comprehensive approach will include intermittent fasting, body positivity, exercise, and the mind-body connection as effective for promoting health and well-being.
University / Institution: Utah Tech University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Health & Medicine
Faculty Mentor: Dannelle Larsen-Rife
Location: Union Building, SALTAIR ROOM (3:50pm)