Saturday, May 05, 2007

Gina Kolata rocks

Tomorrow's New York Times Book Review features a review of Gina Kolata's new book, Rethinking Thin. While the reviewer accepts Kolata's most relevant point--that most fat people do not get thin despite countless diets and interventions--she scoffs at Kolata's conclusion: that maybe there's nothing so wrong with being fat.

This is one book I can't wait to get my hands on. The reviewer was obviously biased from the get-go, but luckily that bias is so clear that there's no mistaking it for critical judgment. Kolata is a wonderful science writer who knows her stuff. I'm looking forward to reading it for myself.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Why do women hate their bodies?

Gen-Y journalist Courtney E. Martin posed this question to herself, her friends, and to some of the so-called experts. Then she wrote a book called Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body.

The subtitle rocks--I love the juxtaposition of "normal" and "hating your body," which makes you stop and really think about it. Though I don't think there's anything new about the phenomenon. It was "normal" to hate your body when I grew up in the 1960s and 70s. Martin's point seems to be that the pressure to be thin has now morphed into the pressure to be perfect. The opening line of the review that ran in Publishers Weekly reads, "It is no longer enough for girls to be good . . . girls must now be perfect, and that need for perfection is played out in women's bodies."

I'll be curious to read the book and see if it lives up to its title . . . and what, exactly, Martin has to say about eating disorders.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What do you wish your child's school knew about eating disorders?

I'm in the beginning stages of putting together a presentation to give to staff at middle and high schools on eating disorders from the parent's perspective and especially anorexia. My goal is to a) create empathy for students and families dealing with an e.d., b) explain the severity of such e.d.s, c) offer specific practical information on how schools can support families dealing with e.d.s, and d) offer a list of things they shouldn't do, both in general ("anti-obesity" curricula, public weigh-ins, etc) and in specific when dealing with a child in crisis.

So I pose the question to my readers: What would YOU want your child's school to know/do differently when it comes to anorexia and e.d.s? Your input will help me create the most effective and compelling presentation.