Posts Tagged ‘eating disorders’



Get ready! It’s Pennsylvania Teen Health Week!


Help us celebrate!Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Laura Offutt, MD, whose digital health resource, Real Talk with Dr. Offutt, developed Teen Health Week in collaboration with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Department of Health with support from the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Laura is a volunteer internal medicine physician, youth mentor and advocate who uses social media and her blog-based website to engage adolescents with teen-friendly, accurate health information.

Get ready! This week is Pennsylvania Teen Health Week! As proclaimed by Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Teen Health Week to focuses on the overall health of teenagers from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and everywhere in between. Pennsylvania is the first and only state to have such a statewide proclamation and observance – but soon Teen Health Week will be a national celebration!

It’s easy to be a part of this special week.  Involvement can be as simple as hanging a flyer announcing the week in your school, church or community center, or wearing lime green, the official color of Teen Health Week.  We even have a toolkit which is full of easy ideas for activities, sample social media posts, and a variety of resources which are organized around the broad themes covered in the week.

Each day has a specific broad health focus:

Monday: Healthy Diet and Exercise

Tuesday: Violence Prevention

WednesdayMental Health

Thursday: Sexual Development and Health

Friday: Substance Use and Abuse

Why is Teen Health Week important? Well, did you know that in Pennsylvania more than a third of our young feel depressed or sad most days?  Or that many teens think that driving after smoking marijuana is safer than after drinking? Or that 1 in 3 high school students have been in an abusive relationship? Or that fewer than one-tenth of our teens broke a sweat for one short hour in the past week?  And that fifteen- to nineteen-year-olds account for nearly half of the cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Pennsylvania?

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to have a week focused on teen health here in Pennsylvania!

Don’t worry – it’s not too late to take part in this fun and special week!  Here are a few ideas of how you can be a part of it:

Wear lime green. It’s the official Teen Health Week color.

Get artsy. Use post-it notes and set up a New Year’s Resolution wall that week – where teens can put anonymous health resolutions for 2017! You know, like “eat a fruit every day.”  Or, “make sure to get enough sleep.”

Hashtag for health. Share or post educational announcements or social media posts focused on each day’s health theme with friends or students. (Find these in the toolkit, or on SafeTeens’ social media channels.)

Help us celebrate! Attend the kick-off at the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg on January 9th, or the Friday the 13th celebration at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.

Plus, there are a lot more easy and fun ideas already created for you in our toolkit!



What Is Exercise Bulimia?


Most of us have heard of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and overeating as serious eating disorders, but one that slips through the cracks often is exercise bulimia.

Exercise bulimia (or exercise addiction) is hard to recognize by even the one engaging in it. Don’t they tell you to be active? Isn’t exercising healthy for you? Won’t this prevent me from getting sick in the future? Yes, but people who suffer from exercise bulimia push their daily exercising to the extreme.

Exercise bulimia is a form of bulimia where those affected by it use exercising as a way of purging through sweating and burning calories. They will go to the gym every day for hours at a time, and possibly multiple times a day, and are obsessed with how many calories they burn while there.

They frequently skip social events, classes, work and appointments in order to get their workout in, and if they miss it they suffer severe depression and work twice as hard the next day. They never take a recovery day, which is very important for your body when getting in shape, and those with exercise bulimia will work out even if injured. They judge their self-worth by how well they do at the gym that day or during their run or game.

Many people who develop this disorder start as athletes who are judged by their physical performance to begin with. Their desire to be perfect takes over and spirals out of control. But lately, our culture has seen an increased emphasis on fitness and less interest in actual dieting, switching the preferred method of weight loss to exercising for the everyday person.

People who suffer from anxiety or other codependent disorders, like obsessive compulsive disorder, are at a higher risk of developing a disorder like exercise bulimia. It gives them a sense of control over external life events.

Problems that occur from exercise bulimia can include stress fractures, strains and sprains, extreme fatigue and dehydration, heart problems, reproductive problems, amenorrhea (the stop of menstruation in women), and even arthritis and osteoporosis.

It is seen a lot on college campuses, where eating habits are weird and many people gain weight after high school. Students will work out for hours at their school’s gym to compensate for all the beer and pizza that now make up their diet, and frequently it can go too far.

Most who suffer from exercise bulimia will burn more calories than they take in during their day. Because they are ending in negative nutrition and calorie levels, this can be considered a form of anorexia as well.

It is suggested for those recovering from exercise bulimia to refrain from exercise for three months, and then be reintroduced to it in a more normalized and healthy manner. If you think you or one of your friends may be at risk or suffering from this hidden eating disorder, you should talk to an adult, a friend or a counselor. Find someone to confide in. Exercise is necessary for a healthy life, but like most good things, too much can be harmful.