Who we are Search Resources Submit a resource Links to sites Discussion Board Contact Us Return to Home
Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Why weight? a school-based prevention program for eating problems.

Author: Huntington, Liza
Author Background: California School Of Professional Psychology - Berkeley/Alameda, US
Date 7/2000
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering
Volume/Pages Vol 61(1-B): 534
Subject Matter Young Women, Research, Eating Disorders; Prevention; Program Development
Abstract For twenty years eating problems have been recognized as a pervasive problem in western culture; however, the medical/mental health community has not yet adequately examined or understood this relatively recent cultural phenomenon. A lack of understanding about the relationship between eating problems, the advertising industry, and gender politics has resulted in a lack of adequate prevention programming in schools for problems related to eating and weight. Education about the sociopolitical causes of eating problems is essential if prevention is to occur. Adolescent females are the focus of this study because eating problems affect them more than any other population. The number of cases of girls and young women who starve, binge, and purge is on the rise. Since school attendance is the universal experience of young people, classroom education about the sociopolitical causes of eating problems is a valuable component in efforts to prevent problematic eating and unrealistic weight expectations in females. To date, there are few prevention programs on eating problems in high schools relative to prevention programs for other problems, and only one that has been systematically evaluated. A discussion of eating problems, the politics of prevention, and the design of a program with a social constructionist perspective is seen as a concomitant intervention strategy for this serious and growing problem in adolescent females. The present study uses the clinical, theoretical, and research literature on eating problems, as well as interviews, to develop a school-based prevention program. The desired impact of this program is varied. Hopefully, such a program will enable female students to (a) develop critical thinking and an understanding about the relationship between the politics of gender, the advertising industry, and eating problems; (b) avoid becoming or remaining passive recipients of the unrealistic beauty standards set for women so that they are less susceptible to developing a poor body image or an eating problem; and (c) utilize their energy in a way that empowers them and is meaningful to them and their community. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)