When someone says the word bulimia, it brings about a sort of taboo that most people are afraid to talk about. In reality, bulimia is the most common eating disorder affecting one to three percent of our population. It is described as a pattern of binging and purging. Someone with this eating disorder may eat up to 10,000 calories in one sitting and then use a variety of means to exit the food from their body including vomiting or abusing laxatives. This disease occurs most often in adolescent girls faced with society's pressure to look and to feel thin. The media plays an enormous role in this pressure by showing the glamorous lifestyles that characters on television shows like Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and The O.C. portray. Every character looks more beautiful and thinner than the last giving girls standards that are next to impossible to compare too. However, the media is not the only factor that may lead to bulimia. Genetics, trauma, and family, among other things are all factors that contribute to the disease.
American Idol runner up, Katherine McPhee, confessed that she suffers from bulimia. McPhee became obsessed with her weight at age thirteen, and ever since, it has been a constant, uphill battle. Through auditioning for American Idol, she has had to learn to cope with multiple triggers including stress. She continued to lose weight throughout the season, and it became evident that McPhee was not healthy. She is now open about her condition and is promoting others suffering with eating disorders towards healthier lifestyles. It was extremely brave of her to be so open about her personal life on such an openly televised show. It opens the door for parents to talk to their children about eating disorders, the pressures that can cause them, and how to avoid these pressures.