Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Social Work

First Advisor

Gary Mathews

Second Advisor

Patricia Criswell


Four in 100 women will develop either anorexia or bulimia in their lifetime. Almost 100% of the victims of eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. For females in this age range, anorexia is one of the leading causes of death. Aside from not eating, the diet product industry is booming. Women, especially young women, have become obsessed with the way they look, trying to achieve what the media insists is a normal body. At any given point in time one in four people are on a diet, whether it is healthy or not. The average American woman is a size 14 while the average super model is a size zero to two. The media, as Americans have known for years, is causing an unattainable figure for American women to desire. While serious changes need to be made in media outlets to portray more realistic women, the real issue is keeping American women healthy, both mentally and physically. In order to achieve this, there needs to be an understanding of why women turn to unhealthy means of weight loss. Why are young women so influenced by unattainable body types? Why are young women so inclined to do something unhealthy in order to achieve results? In this study, I will explore the causes and effects of eating disorders and fad diets on young, female students. The health of the country is at its’ worst that its’ been in years. There is limited accessibility to healthy foods and knowledge of means of healthy weight loss is inadequate. It is 2013 and the country is at a crossroads, poor body image and poor health, where can we go from here?

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted