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Valerie Hall: age 13

We live in a thin obsessed world where skinny models are idolized
and 60% of high-school girls want to lose weight.

Honorable judges, teachers and fellow students

Teens think that to be popular it is important to look a certain way. This certain look is not always pretty. In fact, in my mind, anorexia is not pretty. Anorexia is a disease, involving severe weight loss. Anorexia usually begins when a diet is started. Most anorexics still fell fat even when one fourth of their body weight is lost. A person with anorexia has a lack of self of self confidence. Not only women have anorexia men too can have this eating disorder. The average teenage or adult woman needs to eat between 1,800 to 2,500 calories each day to stay healthy. A person with anorexia will eat 300 to 500 calories a day. a lot of people with anorexia say that they like to feel hungry because than they know they are not gaining weight. A lot of anorexics become anorexics because they have been abused physically or mentally. People with eating disorders often want to feel special and accepted by others. Today women and teens are bombarded with pictures supermodels that are thin.

A lot of people will than think that it is OK be that small, but not everyone is able to be that size. Not everyone is happy with his or her body weight and think that if you are thin you are in shape. There is a big difference between being thin and being in shape. Anorexia is ranked the third highest illness in women and teens.

As soon as you turn on the TV you see commercials with skinny models. It seems as if they are implying that to be pretty, you have to be thin.

I think that this is wrong. I also think that advertisements teach children what to wear and what size to be.

In a study that was done 7% of 318 children are sure to get an eating disorder before they reach their teens.

Eating disorders are curable. The sooner the treatment begins, the better the chances for success are. The longer eating disorder victims go without treatment, the more likely they are to suffer from permanent damage. Treatment takes place inside a hospital called IN PATIENT TREATMENT during this treatment there are three goals to be reached. Goal number one is to stop the self destructive behavior. This means to eat and gain weight. Goal number two is to make the victim feel comfortable with his or her body weight. The last goal is to help the patient avoid being anorexia again this is done through counseling.

I don't think that there is a certain weight that everyone should be. I think that everyone has a weight that they are comfortable with. It is time that advertisers stop using models whose looks are, are for most unattainable. If advertisers start using bigger models I think that it would make people feel more comfortable with their weight and size.

In closing, I would like to add that at one time it was fashionable for men and women to be seen smoking cigarettes and the public bought into this notion because we saw it in advertisements daily, since then we have of course come to know that cigarette smoking is dangerous to our health and most of these advertisements exist no longer. We learned a lesson the hard way, many people died from lung cancer because they were mislead into believing smoking was the "COOL" thing to do. I believe the same is true of our physical body image. If young people see young beautiful and extra thin actresses and models in advertisements- How many boys and girls will have to die from these eating disorders before we realize that the magazine and diet add industries may just be the cause of this horrible disease??

Written by: Valerie Marie Hall

Age: 13

I wrote this for a speech competition at my school.