Monday, May 25, 2009
This story in The Sun (admittedly not my typical reading) uses sensationalism and inflated language to hype a story that in itself is disturbing enough: The fact that in the U.K. in the last year, 44 girls ages eight and under were admitted to hospitals with anorexia or bulimia.
Think about that. Eight-year-olds have new front teeth. They might wear their hair in braids and play on a soccer (football to you across the pond) team. They're learning to spell and to multiply. They might have a best friend, someone they giggle with at lunch or on the schoolbus. They might have a favorite doll. They might love to scrapbook or draw.
Now think about a child that age in the hospital with anorexia or bulimia.
And now think about why a newspaper might report this story with this headline:
"Anorexia in girls aged 8 soars 25 per cent"
The second paragraph comments, "Shocking figures showed a huge rise in anorexia and bulimia among young girls over the last five years."
The journalist in me wants you to think about the facts: In 2003-04, 35 girls under the age of 8 were admitted to hospitals for EDs. So we're talking about a jump of 9 girls--hardly a "shocking" figure.
The advocate and mother in me wants you to think about the fact that even one girl with anorexia or bulimia is a tragedy, whether she's 8 or 18.