Eating disorders have traditionally developed in the adolescent and young adult years. Now, studies are showing that older generations are also struggling. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), more than 20% of women aged 70 and older are dieting and identify weight as their greatest concern.
What is the catalyst for eating disorders that develop later in life? Just as younger people come to engage in eating disordered behaviors in response to trauma, transition, poor body image, and low self-esteem, so do older adults. For seniors, life can change very rapidly and in uncomfortable ways. Many older adults are having trouble dealing with retirement, death of a spouse, income restrictions, or health problems. As dangerous as eating disorders are, they can become very problematic in older generations and cause or exacerbate significant health problems due to weight loss.