17 December 2010

Bikram Yoga: That's Hot! One Man's Testimonial on the Latest Health Craze

Not being one to miss out on anything that’s “all the rage,” I recently tried Bikram Yoga. And I’m hooked.

Profile: I’m 40-something, reasonably fit, tried yoga a few times several years ago, and have a few aches and pains from old sports injuries. I don’t stretch much but know that I should.

I also despise the cold. The favorite part of my “workout” is typically the sauna, particularly in the winter. So the thoughts of clearing my mind and sweating out some toxins and getting in some good stretches in a 105 degree room seemed like a great idea. Maybe meet some interesting new people too.

Also, being known to throw back a few beers with my buddies from time to time and being a sucker for Chubby Tacos on 9th St., I figured Bikram was a great way to shed some calories reasonably painlessly and efficiently (as in not running, which I hate). I heard rumors that one could drop as many as 900 calories in a single 90-minute session.

A swanky new studio opened up not far from where I live in a converted warehouse next to a bunch of art studios. I signed up for the 7-day trial.

Like many newbies to Bikram I’m guessing, mid-way through the first session, I honestly thought I was going to die right there on my mat. But I survived.

The session was intense and difficult. Note: 90 minutes can seem like a VERY long time. The heat was almost overwhelming, even to a heat miser like me. I got home around 9 PM, ready to collapse in bed. I slept like a baby.

But here’s the thing: I was fully expecting to wake up the next morning stiff and sore. I wasn’t. I felt great!

I’ve now endured three sessions. I plan on going every day that I can during this 7-day trial period, mostly because I’m cheap and I want to make sure I get my money’s worth, but also because I am totally addicted to it. Seriously, three sessions later, I feel like a new man.

I still can’t do all the postures properly, but I’m making progress. Each time I get a little closer.

I feel energized and alert. And, I think it has positively affected my appetite. I don’t feel as hungry as I did before I started (not sure if there is empirical evidence to support the correlation, but I can’t think of any other reason I’m not craving tacos from Chubby’s).

The meditative part is nice too… I have a lot of clutter bouncing around the lobes these days so it's nice to unwind and clear my brain and be grounded and focused, if only for an hour-and-a-half.

And, yes, there are some interesting people there I’d like to get to know. Like Carmen, my first instructor, who is visiting from Chile. Note: if you are totally unfamiliar with yoga, it may be smart to find an instructor who speaks the same language you do (at least until you figure out what's going on).

Here’s a nice touch: When the final postures are done and the lights are dimmed and you’re resting comfortably on a mat in a puddle of your own sweat, slowly trying to convince your body to peel itself off the floor and head to the locker room… along comes the instructor delivering an ice-cold, wonderfully (mint-ish) scented wash cloth for your head, which is heavenly. And Ice Pops await you in the lobby on the way out the door (not sure if this is standard Bikram procedure or just a little something extra here at Durham Bikram).

Seems like small things, but to be honest, it’s become my motivation for getting through the last 30 minutes or so. Mantra: Cold, minty wash cloth, ice pop. Cold, minty wash cloth, ice pop….

Camel pose
What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is widely regarded as the most intense type of yoga. It involves 26 postures and two breathing exercises in 90 minutes, all performed in a room heated to 105 degrees, facilitated by a certified instructor. Each pose is done twice with a Savasana (rest pose) between each.

What’s going on during the Bikram Yoga session?

· Heavy sweating helps detoxify the body

· As the blood thins, the circulatory system is cleared

· The output of cells which fight infection is increased

· The heart rate is elevated

· Weight loss is made easier because the muscles are warmed and can burn fat more easily

What are the benefits of Bikram Yoga?

· Many bodily systems and functions – digestion, respiration, endocrine, lymphatic, and elimination – work in better harmony

· Balance, flexibility and coordination are increased

· Energy is increased

· Appetite is normalized (likely decreased)

· Cravings for unhealthful foods is decreased or eliminated

· Risk for sports injury is reduced

Yes, I admit it; I am addicted to Bikram Yoga. And I highly encourage everyone to give it a try. Couple pointers for the first timer: don’t eat for a few hours before the session and drink plenty of water beforehand. Also, just know that your clothes will be sopping wet almost immediately; so wear something appropriate or you will be miserable.


Bikram Yoga Durham

01 October 2010

As Number of Recent Gay Teen Suicides Mount, Schools and Parents Must Do More to End Bullying and Intolerance

What in the world is going on?

In the month of September alone, there have been at least four teens in the US who were teased and humiliated to the point of suicide - apparently because they were gay or perceived as gay by their peers.

The most recent was 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey; his young life, so full of promise, senselessly cut short when he was “outed” on the internet and subsequently jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River 600 feet below and died.

The others were even younger: 13-year-old Seth Walsh in California, 13-year-old Asher Brown in Texas, and 15-year-old Billy Lucas in Indiana.

Last year, an 11-year-old in Massachusetts hanged himself with an extension cord after being bullied by classmates who thought he was gay. An 11-year-old?

Certainly we have to look carefully at the data and determine whether these deaths are a coincidental blip or a disturbing trend. Whenever the media or politicians latch onto a story and run with it there’s always concern for knee-jerk reactions and unintended consequences.

Nevertheless, even one senseless, preventable teen-age death is a tragedy, so hopefully the light that mainstream media is shining on the issue will raise awareness and prompt schools and other institutions with influence to take action.

Schools, in particular, simply cannot ignore the issue. The consequences are too tragic.

Fortunately, there are quality resources available to schools, like the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Teaching Tolerance" program which provides free curriculum and other tools for teachers.

And hopefully all the media attention will spur meaningful dialogue in living rooms and kitchen tables across the country among parents and their children, gay and straight.

Parents need to understand that values such as sympathy, compassion, understanding and acceptance are primarily learned and reinforced in the home, mostly through modeling. As grownups, we have to show children with our actions what it means to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. As role models, we have to behave better ourselves.

I’ll be honest. As the father of two little girls, I’m terrified. Right now, they seem safe and secure in the cocoon of a wonderfully nurturing humanities elementary school in a particularly progressive college town. But time marches on and I know that middle and high school may be a different story. Being a parent isn’t easy these days. It’s even harder being a kid these days. And so much harder still if you are perceived as somehow “different” among your classmates.

According to a survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nearly nine of out 10 students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender experienced harassment in the past year – a rate three times higher than students in general.

What’s so disappointing to me is this: I thought we would be further along in our evolution by now.

I remember thinking last year when my then first grade daughter spoke nonchalantly in passing about a classmate with two fathers, how the times they were (finally) changing. When instinctively she described the African-American classmate as the one with the bright orange dress instead of identifying her by skin color, it reaffirmed my hope for a color-blind future.

I thought bigotry, hatred, prejudice, intolerance… would soon be obsolete, destined for the junk heap along with rotary telephones and manual typewriters. Open-mindedness and tolerance seem much more consistent with the iPad generation.

If the findings in a recent study by the University of Michigan are factual, I may be wrong.

The report suggests that college students today are significantly less empathetic than their peers from 30 years ago. The researchers speculated that overexposure to media has desensitized an entire generation.

So, it looks like we still have a lot of work ahead of us. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Seems like a good time to get started.

Below are some resources that might be helpful:

"Teaching Tolerance” is project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama (www.splcenter.org) that provides free anti-bias resources to schools and other groups (www.tolerance.org)

The Trevor Project (866) 4U TREVOR is a 24-hour national help line for gay and questioning teens.

Angels and Doves is a nation-wide anti-bullying non-profit organization (www.angelsanddoves.com)

04 July 2010

Fourth of July Confessions of a Cynical Patriot

A friend recently accused me of being unpatriotic. This is my response to him:

I’ve come to realize that one can be patriotic and not be nationalistic… love your country without draping yourself in the flag and chanting “we’re number one” all the time.

I think it’s ok that an inspired futbol team from tiny Ghana kicked our ass in the World Cup… Clearly, it means more to them than it does to us. Let the Canadians have hockey. We don’t need to be #1 in everything (nor do we need to host the Olympics again). Maybe that makes me unpatriotic.

But did anybody really like the guy in high school who always got the girl and made straight A’s and made the winning shot at the buzzer? A little humility is a good thing.

In the wake of the terrorist attack on 9/11/2001, exposed and vulnerable, the world responded to us with compassion and support, which our renegade cowboy president at the time squandered with his arrogance and misplaced retaliation… so, we stopped eating French fries. How American.

Sometimes I think the rest of the world must sit back and chuckle at us. Comparatively, we’re just a young, fledgling country. As far as nations go, we’re an adolescent. Full of bravado... ego-centric... with our delusions of invincibility.

Dynasties rise and fall. Laws of gravity apply. More mature nations understand this better than we do. If I happen to think we’ve begun our slide, does that make me unpatriotic?

I’ve come to realize that I love my country the same way I love my great-grandmother who died before I was born… more as a matter of principle. But not passionately like a new lover or unconditionally like I love my children. Some people do.

I love my country. But I’m not infatuated with her.

My father was a sailor in World War II and two of my older brothers were drafted into the army during the Vietnam War. I know that their patriotism is different from mine in ways that I could never possibly understand. They might say that I live a cushy life and take freedom for granted. Perhaps that is true.

I love my country but I think it is flawed in many ways. Its past isn’t as glorious as revisionist text book writers would have us believe… From the near extinction of the natives to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow to the needless occupation of Iraq today…

All "systems" seem broken (economic, justice, regulatory, welfare, housing, health care, education...).

Our brand of capitalism has seen its better day. Greed and gluttony and corruption caused its downfall. I still believe that free-market is preferable to socialism (or fill in the blank with whatever ism you prefer) but Goldman Sachs and the like are doing their part to close the gap.

Statesmanship has given way to ridiculousness; partisanship rules the day. Politicians are petty and self-serving and the electorate is apathetic and uninformed.

Maybe the gap between the haves and the have-nots is too great to bridge and never the twain shall meet and maybe we really do care more about cheap gas than we do Planet Earth and maybe there will never again be a time in which civility and bi-partisanship have a place in political discourse and maybe, just maybe, our founding fathers' little experiment has run its course.

Truth be told, this is the extent of my loyalty to the USA: when I no longer believe this is the best place to live and to raise my children, I’m out of here… Can one be patriotic and an ex-pat-in-waiting at the same time?

First and foremost, I am a citizen of the world. The ultimate freedom to me is to be unconfined by unfettered allegiances and invented borders.

By the way, I also think Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” is just god-awful. It’s trite and contrived and most any high school sophomore could come up with better lyrics. There I said it. Maybe that makes me unpatriotic.

Eighteen months after Barrack Obama was sworn into office, I’m beginning to question whether real change can happen. Progressives desperately wanted change and thought it would happen when we elected one of us. Maybe that was unrealistic. We’re a disillusioned and fatigued lot. Maybe that’s what this rambling on is really all about.

Whether it’s a series of natural ones or careless man-made ones, seems like our government really only has time for managing crises. If Obama isn’t the answer, maybe our problems are just too intractable and overwhelming to solve.

If my “Yes We Can” has turned into “I Just Don’t Know if We Can,” does that make me unpatriotic?

I just wanted, expected better from us. We have the potential for greatness, but, in my humble opinion, have fallen way short....

So, this evening as the NC Symphony strikes up the Star Spangled Banner before the fireworks illuminate the summer sky, I'll stand and place my right hand over my heart and sing along... "oh say can you see...." because these are the rituals that accompany this holiday and I'll try my best to feel proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free because I guess that's what it means to be patriotic.

But, it won't be without a little cynicism. And sadness.

19 May 2010

Hunger in America: Reports Confirm Escalating Crisis among Children; Federal Programs Effective, Important

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service recently reported that 49 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, are food insecure - which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal.

The new data reinforces recent findings from a comprehensive research study conducted by Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, reflecting a dramatic increase in requests for emergency food assistance from food banks across the country.

Feeding America Study Confirms Hunger Crisis

Conducted last September, the Feeding America study shows that its network of food banks experienced an average increase in need of nearly 30 percent in 2008, the year during which this data was collected. While the numbers vary geographically, some food banks are reporting increases of more than 50 percent in requests for emergency food assistance over the year prior.

“It is tragic that so many people in this nation of plenty don’t have access to adequate amounts of nutritious food,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America.

Although these new numbers are staggering, it should be noted that they reflect the state of the nation in 2008. National socio-economic indicators, including the high unemployment rate and the number of working-poor, would lead one to assume that the number of people facing hunger will be even higher when 2009 data is released.

The Implications of Food Insecurity

From birth, the intake of vital nutrients is essential to the growth and development of a healthy individual. Good nutrition, particularly in the first three years of life, is important in establishing and maintaining a good foundation that has implications on a child’s future physical and mental health, academic achievement, and economic productivity. Unfortunately, food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens that critical foundation.

In the United States, more than one out of six children lives in a household with food insecurity.

Inadequate Nutrition or Food Insecurity Has Adverse Affects on:

Physical Health: Insufficient nutrition puts children at risk for illness and weakens their immune system. The immature immune systems of young children, ages birth to 5, make them especially vulnerable to nutritional deprivation and as a result, the ability to learn, grow, and fight infections is adversely affected. Research reveals, in comparison to food secure children, children from food insecure families are 90 percent more likely to be in fair or poor health and have 30 percent higher rates of hospitalization. Not only does the lack of sufficient nutrition take a toll on a child’s health but has economic consequences for families as well. The average cost for a single hospitalization for pediatric illness is $11,300.

Behavior and Mental Heath: The lack of adequate nutrition affects the cognitive and behavioral development of children. Child development is the manner in which children attain skills in memory, cognition, language, motor ability, social interaction, behavior and perception. Children without reliable food are more likely to experience irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating compared to other children. Research has shown that food insecurity was associated with grade repetition, absenteeism, tardiness, anxiety, aggression, poor mathematics scores, psychosocial dysfunction and difficulty with social interaction among 6 to 12 year old children (Watson, Davison 2007). Food insecurity has also shown to be associated with suicide and depressive disorders among 15 to 16 year old children after controlling for income and other factors.

Child Development:
Food insecurity puts children in jeopardy of developmental risk in areas such as language, behavior, and movement, which subsequently increases the likelihood of later problems with attention, learning, and social interaction.

School Readiness and Achievement:
Children from food insecure households are likely to be behind in their academic development compared to other children which ultimately makes it difficult for them to reach the same level of development as their fellow food secure peers.

Assistance for Vulnerable Children is Available

Fortunately, there are federal nutrition assistance programs available to help low income families with meeting the nutritional needs of their children and protect them from the consequences of malnutrition and under nutrition, about which research consistently bears out the efficacy and positive outcomes.

Nevertheless, during periods of budget shortfall and recession, school nutrition programs often get cut, which is unfortunate considering the valuable safety net they provide to some of country’s more vulnerable young people.

Economists and social scientists alike point to the positive return on investment in early childhood nutrition programs; without which, the social, moral and fiscal costs of a generation of unhealthy and underachieving students are likely to be exponentially more.

A few of the critical federal programs:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Research includes a 2005 study (Fronillo, Jyoti, and Jones) that shows an association between improved math and reading scores during Kindergarten to third grade among children participating in SNAP in comparison to children who did not participate or who dropped out of the program during the same time period.

National School Lunch Program: Research shows that children participating in the program consume more vitamin B12, calcium, protein, magnesium, riboflavin, zinc and fiber compared to children not participating in the program. Participation in the program has been shown to be associated with higher average intake of nutrients and lower intake of added sugars; participants are more likely to consume milk, vegetables, meat and other protein-rich foods than non-participants.

Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC):
There is vast amount of research that participation in the WIC program increases the intake of nutrients among children. Research reveals that WIC decreases the prevalence of anemia and iron deficiency among children. Participation in the program increases the intake of vitamin B6, folate and iron.

These minerals are important because vitamin B6 assists the body’s use of protein, carbohydrates and fat, folate assists in producing and maintaining new cells and iron assists in transporting oxygen and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Physicians have rated the health status of children participating in WIC as better than children not participating in the program. WIC participation also increases the chances that children will get immunized and assist children in retrieving preventive health services.

School Breakfast Program (SBP):
Research by Bhattacharya, Currie, and Haider 2004 found that the SBP assists in improving the quality of calories consumed, decreasing the percentage of calories from fat and reducing the probability of low fiber intake. In addition, the program reduces the probability of low intake of vitamins C and E, folate, iron, and potassium. Research by Meyers Sampson, Weitzman, Rogers, and Kayne found that children who eat breakfast at school have better standardized achievement test scores, reduced tardiness, and improved attendance. Numerous other studies make the correlation between children who eat breakfast have improved academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning.

Clearly, nutrition is not only vital for the growth and development of children but has direct and indirect implications for the education, health, and productivity of our nation as a whole. Of particular concern are children of color who face disproportionately higher rates of poverty, food insecurity, and lower academic achievement.

Nutrition is and will continue to be an important component to the health and prosperity of the country. Consequently, it is crucial to ensure that our nation continues to invest in federal nutrition programs which provide a critical safety net, anything short of which is unconscionable.

15 February 2010

Number of Homeless Families and Children on the Rise in US: National Disgrace

Homeless. What image comes to mind? There’s the dirty old woman in tattered clothes who hunkers down on the sidewalk outside my office. She mumbles unintelligibly to no one in particular and smokes cigarillos. She’s known to verbally assault anyone who makes eye contact, so I don’t.

There’s the self-identified Viet Nam vet on the corner of the Interstate exit ramp holding a handmade sign in one hand and a fifth of Jack Daniels in the other.

Those two are easy to peg as homeless.

Certainly mental illness and substance abuse play a major role in the issue. But the truth of the matter is that the homeless come in all packages. It’s not as easy to peg the cute kid who sits next to my daughter in kindergarten as homeless.

Most homeless are hidden from view – in cardboard camps like the one in the woods behind the big box stores out University Drive between Durham and Chapel Hill, otherwise a shining example of capitalism a-flourishing. Or the ones bouncing from one temporary shelter to another or to the houses of classmate to classmate - perhaps never sleeping out in the cold, but homeless nevertheless.

The ranks of the homeless include hard-working families living paycheck to paycheck when the paychecks stop coming for some reason.... and runaway teens and displaced immigrants, and social renegades. And battered women and their young children with nowhere to turn. There are those who find themselves in such dire straits because of a lifetime of bad choices and others through no fault of their own.

There are those who will get their lives back together with a little help and others who will die on the streets.

They all deserve another chance.

The most tragic victims of homelessness are children, who make up about 27% of the homeless population, according to estimates recently reported by the National Center on Family Homelessness (NCFH). An alarming 1.5 million children (or 1 out of every 50 children in America) are homeless, which is unconscionable in a nation as prosperous as the US.

Families with children are now the fastest growing sub-group among the homeless population; they account for about 40% of the people who become homeless each year. About 50% of America's homeless women and children are running from domestic abuse.

The effects of the economic downturn – including increasing numbers of foreclosures, job losses, rising food and fuel prices, and inadequate supplies of low-cost housing – will surely add to the numbers of children and families among the ranks of the homeless.

Homeless Children More Likely to be Hungry, Sick and Underachieve in School

Not surprising: children without homes are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children; two-thirds worry they won’t have enough to eat; more than one-third report being forced to skip meals.

Homeless children are more than twice as likely as middle class children to have moderate to severe acute and chronic health problems.

They are twice as likely as other children to repeat a grade in school, to be expelled or suspended and to drop out of school. The graduation rate among homeless children is less than 25%.

Not only do homeless children lack basic shelter, but they also suffer from a lack of safety, comfort, privacy, a sense of routine and normalcy, adequate health care, sustaining relationships, and a sense of community. These factors combine to create a life-altering experience that inflicts profound and lasting scars.

Ultimately, homelessness is a death sentence. The average age of death for individuals living without shelter is 48 years. That’s about a 30-year shorter life expectancy than the average American.

Like most social ills, the issues surrounding child homelessness are complex. Solutions aren’t easy to find, but they do exist.

In its America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, the NCFH suggests that it is possible to “end child homelessness within a decade” but only if it becomes a national priority.

The Report provides a number of recommendations for federal and state governments which should be implemented right away.

According to the report, at least six states have created extensive plans to combat child homelessness, and a dozen additional states have done significant planning. We should learn from the states that are successful and replicate what works everywhere else.

For me, stable shelter should be considered a basic human right and among the nation’s most urgent priorities. If we fail to act, the consequences will play out for years to come as a generation of lost children grows to adulthood.

Government alone can't solve the problem of homelessness (and shouldn't be expected to).  It should, however, recognize the issue as a crisis and assert the political will to solve it.  Other sectors should follow: corporate, faith, media, nonprofits, education, entertainment and individuals from all walks of life.

The outpouring of support following the recent earthquake in Haiti once again demonstrated America's generosity and desire to lend a helping hand during times of crisis, which is inspiring. Still, there are children and families in every large and small city across the US struggling to survive, as well.

As you read this, I urge you to agree with me that it is unacceptable for even one child in the United States to be homeless for even one day. Each of us must take the actions necessary to end this national disgrace.

Homeless family living in a car - flickr

13 January 2010

Eating Disorders Common Among Young Girls, Teens -- Overweight Epidemic Shouldn't Overshadow Dangers of Bulimia

The topic of childhood obesity receives a tremendous amount of exposure in the mainstream media these days, which is understandable. Certainly, there is reason to be concerned about the health of children who are overweight.

But what about the “thin at any cost” messages that are resulting in a generation of young people afraid to eat, whose self-esteem is damaged when the image they see in the mirror doesn’t conform to the unrealistic standard of beauty perpetuated by the glamour industry?

Children Afraid to Eat

According to Frances Berg, who wrote the book Children and Teens Afraid to Eat – Helping Youth in Today’s Weight-Obsessed World (Healthy Weight Network, 2001), parents should be equally concerned about children who are spending an inordinate amount of energy on unhealthy diets and who are developing potentially deadly eating disorders.

The truth of the matter is that healthy people come in all shapes and sizes. Children should be encouraged to eat a well-balanced diet, avoid a sedentary lifestyle and love the person they see looking back in the mirror.

Walks in the woods, working in the garden, playing chase with kids in the neighborhood and romping with the family dog in the park all work well. You don’t have to belong to a gym to be fit.

But when thin-as-a-rail seven-year-old girls are complaining that their thighs are too fat and perfectly healthy kindergartners beg their parents to let them go on a diet - something is wrong in the messages adults are sending them.

The emphasis should be on health, wellness, balance and moderation (and not size and shape).

My oldest daughter is seven. She’s lean and strong and athletic and healthy. But she’s already spending a lot of time in front of the mirror. As the first important man in her life, I just hope I have the wisdom to help her through these next few tricky years.

I’ll be a frequent visitor to Berg’s Healthy Weight Network website.

Andrea’s Voice – Resource for Information on Bulimia, Other Eating Disorders

Another valuable resource is Andrea’s Voice Foundation (AVF). Its website, Andrea's Voice, provides information and support for parents baffled by their child’s eating behavior.

The foundation came into being following the death in 1999 of Tom and Doris Smeltzer's daughter, Andrea, due to complications related to bulimia. Since then, the Smeltzers have become experts on the topic and have delivered presentations at hundreds of universities, conferences and organizations around the world. AVF is dedicated to promoting education and understanding toward the prevention, identification, diagnosis and treatment of disordered eating and related issues.

The book, Andrea’s Voice… Silenced by Bulimia (Gurze, 2006 ), written by Doris, describes Andrea as a young woman who "had the world at her feet: she was vibrant, talented, strong, and beautiful."

But after a one-year struggle with bulimia, Andrea died in her sleep at the age of 19, catapulting her mother into a journey of self-discovery and realizations about her daughter and herself.

Proceeds from the sale of the book help fund the foundation. You can order it on the website.

I got to know Doris a few years ago when an organization I was running, The Center for Child Advocacy and Research, worked with her to put on the Children: Health, Weight and Wellness symposium in Napa, CA.

What Doris and Tom unfortunately know all too well is that eating disorders, particularly among teen girls and young women, is a common problem. And sometimes, the results are tragic.

Results which will continue, unfortunately, as long as society continues its weight-loss and thinness obsession.