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Situational Assessment

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Eating disorders are psychiatric conditions characterized by disordered eating habits or weight control behaviours (Mahan & Escott-Stump, 2008). They include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, and Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. In adolescents, eating disorders are the third most common chronic disease. In the 2002 Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey 1.5% of young Canadian women in the age of 15-24 year reported having an eating disorder (Government of Canada, 2006). However, the Adolescent Medicine Committee states that diagnostic criteria by DSM-IV for eating disorders may not be fully applicable to teenagers because of the high variability in height and weight, absence of menstrual periods in early puberty together with unpredictability of menses soon after menarche, and the lack of abstract concepts in adolescents (Adolescent Medicine Committee, 1998). In a school-based study disordered eating behaviours were found in over 27% of teenage girls in the age of 12-18 years, and were found to increase gradually during adolescence (Jones, Bennett, Olmsted, Lawson & Rodin, 2001). Haines and Neumark-Sztainer (Haines & Neumark- Sztainer, 2006) investigated risk factors for obesity and disordered eating, and found evidence that dieting, use of media, body dissatisfaction, as well as weight-related teasing may contribute to the development of eating disorders.
Eating disorders may have serious consequences for health, relationships, and fertility (National Eating Disorder Association, 2005). In a person with Anorexia Nervosa the body does not receive enough energy for proper functioning. Slow heart rate and low blood pressure, osteoporosis, muscle loss, dehydration, fatigue, dry hair and skin, and lanugo are common symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa. Bulimia Nervosa affects the entire digestive system and can cause electrolyte and chemical…...

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