Eating disorders in adult women on the rise

Monday, July 26 2010

Every day, Helen Engel-Gray makes sure she consumes less than 1,500 calories.

She calculates the fat, protein and carbohydrate content of each morsel that passes through her lips, and if she eats something unhealthy, she tells herself angrily that she deserves to be overweight.

The 31-year-old became anorexic as a teenager, when she ate so little that her hair fell out and her menstrual cycle stopped. "I do not consider myself recovered," the Edmonton teacher said via e-mail. "I don't know if it is possible to completely revamp the way I look at food."

Ms. Engel-Gray is one of a rising number of women past their teens and 20s who have a dysfunctional relationship with food. Some, like her, suffer relapses of eating disorders they faced as teens, while others develop a problem for the first time in their 30s, 40s, 50s or even 60s.

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