The present paper is an epidemiological study of eating disorders in Romania that analyses the prevalence of eating disorders in the Transylvanian high school population. We surveyed 2396 high school adolescents (1140 male, 1256 female), of which 1312 were Hungarian and 1084, Romanian. The prevalence of anorexia nervosa (AN) was 0.6% in the Romanian female sample; no clinical cases of AN were found in the Hungarian female sample. The prevalence of subclinical AN was 0.4% in the Hungarian female sample and 1.9% in the Romanian sample. The prevalence of bulimia nervosa (BN) was 1% in the Hungarian and 1.3% in the Romanian female samples. The prevalence of subclinical BN was 0.8% in the Hungarian female sample and 0.7% in the Romanian female sample. We have not found clinical or subclinical AN in the male sample but the prevalence of BN was 0.2% in the Hungarian male sample. The prevalence of subclinical BN was 0.3% in the Hungarian male sample and 0.5% in the Romanian male sample. Our results draw attention to the presence of eating disorders in Romanian adolescents, possibly due to the internalization of Western values and beauty ideals.
Self-defeating eating has negative effects on the lives of a large number of people in the western world. In Australia, obesity and overweight is on the rise, affecting twenty-five percent of children, and between thirty and fifty percent of adults. Although disordered eating blights the lives of a relatively small percentage of the population by comparison, the majority of sufferers are girls and young women. Generally in western countries, women and girls indulge in very poor dietary practices, in an effort to attain an unrealistically slim shape that is lauded by the media. Both dietary restriction and over-indulgence in high fat, calorie laden foods with little nutrient value have a large negative impact on the health of at least one half of the western world. Treatment options are inadequate, in terms of availability and efficacy. Of the programs currently available, cognitive behavioural techniques have the best empirical record and it appears that hypnosis may prove a useful adjunct to the treatment program.