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A study in the International Journal of Obesity shows why as many as twenty percent of young girls in North America suffer from bulimia characterized by vomiting or purging after eating or body dysmorphic disorder in which they look in the mirror and see a fat girl, no matter how thin they are.

Dr. Katzmarzyk of York University near Toronto reviewed Playboy Magazine centerfolds from 1978 to 1998 and found that 70 percent were severely underweight, a sign that many are not complete women and would find it difficult to become pregnant. The female hormone, estrogen, causes fat to be deposited primarily in the breasts, hips and thighs. So all heathy women must have fat in these areas to be healthy and the average fit, healthy woman should have 22 percent of her weight as fat.

If a woman restricts food to the point where she drops her body fat percentage below 12 percent, she is likely to stop menstruating and lack estrogen. This usually prevents her from becoming pregnant and always causes her bones to weaken and become osteoporotic. All these women have to do to regain their periods, become fertile and protect their bones is to eat more food and regain their lost weight.

However, when young boys look at magazine features and ads that show emaciated women, they learn to believe that skinny is desirable. When some young women look at these same pictures they often believe that it is desirable to be that thin. They make themselves vomit or take over-the-counter products that cause diarrhea so they can maintain an unhealthful low weight. They usually do not realize that these skinny models lack estrogen, are unable to become pregnant and are causing osteoporosis by their unhealthful eating habits and weight control techniques.

Thinness and body shape of Playboy centerfolds from 1978 to 1998. PT Katzmarzyk, C Davis. International Journal of Obesity, 2001, Vol 25, Iss 4, pp 590-592Address Katzmarzyk PT, York Univ, Sch Kinesiol & Hlth Sci, 4700 Keele St, N York, ON M3J 1P3, CANADA

Checked 9/3/05

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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