Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gisele Bundchen, educate yourself!

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen thinks she knows what causes anorexia: weak families.

Because she's not anorexic, and she comes from a strong family, she's deduced that anorexics must come from weak families.

This is what's known in philosophy as a tautology. Or something like that. It's faulty reasoning, circular logic, and a bunch of hooey.

It's also unfortunate that someone with as much power to draw media attention is saying things like this, because many families and professionals will listen to her uninformed words.

Gisele, I'm glad you're able to be a supermodel without falling prey to the awful disease of anorexia. But frankly, you don't know what you're talking about here.

Take a look at some of the very latest research on anorexia and genetics. Then how about coming out with a more useful pronouncement on the topic?

I dare you.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Have dinner with your family on Feb. 25!

Just in case you needed a reason to make family dinners more of a priority, here are some fascinating statistics:

* Kids whose families eat dinner together more often eat better and show less eating-disordered behavior than kids whose families eat together less often

* Kids whose families eat dinner together three times a week or less are twice as likely to try marijuana and cigarettes and 1-1/2 times likelier to try alcohol than those whose families eat together 5-7 times a week

* A 2001 University of Michigan study found that family meals trumped most other predictive factors in kids’ lives, including amount of time spent in school, studying, church, playing sports, and in art activities. When the results were statistically controlled for gender, race, family structure and employment, income, social class, parents’ education and age, and family size, family meals were still the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems
And what better way to honor National Eating Disorders Week this February than to schedule a family dinner?

To celebrate the role of family support in recovery from eating disorders, the Maudsley Parents group (of which I am proud to be a founding member) will sponsor a worldwide Family Dinner on February 25. Sign up to share a meal with your family that day, and you'll receive a Gold Fork pin and NEDAW materials on request.

My family's in--how about yours?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Support group forming

I'm thinking of starting a weekly support group for parents using the Maudsley approach to refeed their anorexic children. I've had a couple of parents say they would love such a group. If you're interested (I'm in Madison, Wisconsin), send an e-mail to

Anorxia, culture, and a Golden Fork award

JG's thoughtful responses to my previous post included a link to an interesting article on eating disorders and culture. It's a good overview of the conventional wisdom on the role of culture in eating disorders, and I'm putting the link up here in case anyone wants to read it.

JG writes, "I'd give anything to spare a young woman today from going through what I did." That's how I feel--I'd give anything to spare a young woman from going through what my daughter did.

I think if we keep talking about this, keep questioning, raising the issues, that's a good thing. I wrote here months ago about the posters at my younger daughter's middle school--there were bulletin boards in the hallways promoting "healthy eating," exercise, and, yes, unbelievably, weight loss. I went in and talked with the assistant principal about it. The posters went away for a while, and have no, my daughter says, been replaced with posters saying something like "Losing weight is not healthy for children and adolescents."

Yay! Hamilton Middle School got it! I hereby award them a Golden Fork award for being responsive to the issue. One small step at the table, one giant step (I hope) for our understanding and treatment of eating disorders.