Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Courage of a 9-Year-Old

Ezra Frech
As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed I came across a video that brought me to tears. 'The Inspirational Story of 9-Year-Old Ezra Frech'; and it truly was inspirational. As a junior in high school about to become a senior I am constantly daunted by the impending college applications that I am going to have to begin filling out, and the possibility of being rejected from some of those universities. To me applying to college takes a lot of courage, but after watching this video I have realized that what I think takes a lot of courage seems incredibly small to what young Ezra has to face everyday. He truly is courageous.

Ezra was born with one finger on his left hand and a full left leg that was curved. In order to fix some of this he underwent surgery when he was two and a half years old to remove his left leg and took the big toe from his left foot and put it on his left hand, so that he would have two fingers. He now wears a prothsetic on his left leg. Even with only two fingers on his left hand and a prothsetic on his left leg Ezra is a better athlete than I will ever be. He says sports help him forget about the fact the he is different and allow him to just focus on what is happening in the game; he enters game mode.

In the video we see Ezra participating in basketball, soccer, football and track. If this was any other kid one would say wow they're really athletic, but a lot of young kids play multiple sports, but for Ezra this is a tremendous accomplishment. When asked if he thinks he has to work harder than anyone else he uses this example to answer the question: "I bet kids when they take a step [think] 'oh I took a step, big deal'. But, for me when I take a step I say 'oh no big deal', but I though about every little bit." This comparison put's everything in to perspective for me. I don't even notice what is happening to my body when I walk up a set of stairs let alone one step, but for Ezra that one step takes a lot of strength.

In my opinion, the most inspiring thing that Ezra said throughout the entire video was his response to this question: "How do you stay positive?" His response was: "I have to think about what I have, instead of what I don't have." This was such a mature answer from someone who is just 9-years-old.

Please take the time to watch Ezra's video here.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fifty Years of the Foot-Long

Subway started off in 1965 as Pete's Super Submarines in Conneticut. 17-year-old Fred DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from a family friend Peter Buck, a doctor. DeLuca was aspiring to be a doctor hoped that this sandwich shop would help him pay for medical school. In 1974 the two of them started selling franchises under the name Subway. Subway has made it into many different types of places such as college campuses, malls military bases, a car showroom, a Goodwill store, and even a church.
Subway Foot-Long

Subway has always been one of America's top food chains having 43,945 sandwich shops in 110 countries. However, in the last year Subway sales have declined 3 percent ($400 million). So why is it that their sales are declining?

Subway used to to be known for offering the healthiest fast food at great prices. Now Subway has some competition: Chipotle Mexican Grill and Firehouse Subs. Both offer healthy build-your-own meals like Subway, but their options seem to be fresher. As a consumer I would prefer to see my deli meat freshly cut in front of me rather than peeled off wax paper. Subway still uses microwaves to heat their food, I would prefer a steamer. Subway hasn't evolved to be in line with what Americans see as healthy. In my opinion Subway needs to work harder to maintain their label as a healthy fast food. option.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Beauty Comes in All Sizes

After spending four weeks studying eating disorders and the ideal body image I took a little break studying it... except for now. I recently came across a Ted Talk by Ashley Graham where she discussed body acceptance. Ashley Graham is a body activist, lingerie designer, and model… well plus size model. As she says in her Ted Talk, Graham was signed at the age of 13 to a major modeling company.  She talks about how difficult it was for her to answer the question "What do you do for a living?", because every time she said "I'm a model" she would get a funny look and then have to qualify with "a plus size model." It's so unfortunate that someone as beautiful as Graham struggles to feel accepted in her own body because of  "the narrow mold" that society has set as the beautiful body image.
Graham's Shoot for Sports Illustrated
In my opinion Graham is quite the success seeing as she has been on the cover of five magazines and is encouraging women to love their bodies. The Dove brand has launched a campaign to create a "wider definition of beauty after [a] study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. A quiet shocking statistic is that "only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful." Both Dove and Graham are striving to spread the word the perfection and beauty come in all different shapes and sizes, and that all should be accepted. 

To watch Ashley Graham's Ted Talk click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How the Media Influences What We Want to Look Like

Models and actresses have been setting the ideal body in our society since the early 1900s. According to an article on eating disorders in the newsletter CQ Researcher Charles Dana Gibson created a drawing that was in many magazines entitled "The Gibson Girl" which featured a girl whose tiny waist was not proportionate to the rest of her body creating an unrealistic ideal for women. Fast forward 40 years to a time where Marilyn Monroe and other actresses who had a fuller figure set an ideal that was more in ling with natural anatomy. Then, in the 1960s Twiggy a British model who weighed 97 pounds presented a new body image of impossible skinniness. This body type is still desired by many women and young girls today. However, this body type is only naturally possessed by 5% of American females.  
With media being so prominent in our society, what actresses and models look like will inevitably have a huge impact on whoever sees them. In a Pediatric Child Health from 2003 pediatricians Anne Morria and Debra Katzman said that “On average a child or adolescent… spends an average of 6 to 7 hours [a day] viewing the various media combined." This amount of media exposure is bound to have an impact on its viewers. The Anorexia Nervosa and associated disorders association released the statistic that "47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures." Clearly there being one body type people are striving for is not healthy. 
Media is constantly showing us what we should be striving for. For example, Victoria's Secret released a bra campaign entitled "The Perfect 'Body'" and here is what the campaign picture looks like:
Victoria's Secret Campaign

This ad makes it seem as though this body type is "perfect". Though the word "body" is specifically talking about the body of the bra having 10 extremely thin women in the background doesn't make it seem that way. After much scrutiny Victoria's Secret changed the campaign title to "A Body For Every Body" with the same picture in the back

When will women finally not feel pressure from society to be this thin?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Athletes and Eating Disorders

It's particularly ironic that athletes in certain sports are susceptible to eating disorders. Athletes have one goal in mind and they will do whatever it takes to reach that goal, even if it means developing an eating disorder. According to Walden, a treatment facility for people with eating disorders "…athletes- both men and women- may be two to three times more likely to have an eating disorder than the average person…"

Gymnast Kerri Strug Developed an Eating Disorder
It has been proven that women are more likely to develop eating disorders over men. According to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine women in aesthetic, weight category and endurance sports are at the highest risk to develop an eating disorder. Aesthetic sports include gymnastics and dance; these female athletes are at the absolute highest risk for developing eating disorders. In the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 42% of the athletes who participated in aesthetic sports have an eating disorder. In 1992 gymnast Kerri Strug failed to make the all-around competition in the Olympics. The 14-year-old believed that if she were lighter she would perform better. In 1996 the 4-foot-9-inch athlete weighing 78 pounds won gold at the 1996 Olympics.  

Men athletes can also develop eating disorders. Men in antigravity, weight category, and endurance sports are at the highest risk, especially athletes in weight category sports like wrestling. In the same study conducted by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine men had significantly lower percentages for eating disorders, but the sports with the most male athletes with eating disorders was weight category with 18 percent. Athletes in weight category sports are at risk because they need to maintain a certain weight to compete against the same competition. 

To me it is very shocking athletes are at such a high risk because sports are supposed to keep you healthy. What do you think about athletes susceptibility to eating disorders?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Connection Between Eating Disorders and Obesity

In my previous post I talked about how the ideal body image the media has instilled in our society has caused people to develop eating disorders. Continuing with the same topic of eating disorders, in this post I am going to discuss how our country's battle with obesity has driven people to eating disorders, specifically children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 17% of children and adolescents had an eating disorder in 2011-2012. With such a high amount of children being obese our country has put more emphasis on being healthier. In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let's Move initiative with the intent to solve the obesity problem in this generation. Children are trying to be healthier, but some end up with the other extreme: an eating disorder.

When children try to lose weight some become too focused on it and their "every thought and behavior surrounds eating". The problem with these children is that their parents and/or physicians do not recognize that they are developing an eating disorder because they believe its a good thing the child is losing weight. In order to lose weight in a healthy way the child must exercise and eat healthy, but not eat as little as possible and over exercise. It is important, as a country, that we promote a healthy lifestyle in a healthy way.

In a study from the journal Pediatrics two case studies were presented for teenagers who were obese and through there weight loss developed an eating disorder that went undetected for a very long time by doctors. In both cases there were signs that suggested an eating disorder; however, doctors attributed these symptoms to other causes rather than an eating disorder. Doctors, as well, should be especially aware of excessive weight loss in an obese child so that the eating disorder can be detected as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Ideal Body Image

Supermodel Ideal
With Junior year comes the Junior Theme. This project can be on any topic that has some historical significance, which is why it was so difficult for me to pick a topic. After going through multiple topics I landed on eating disorders. In particular I'm studying "why eating disorders are on the rise?" According to a CQ Researcher article about eating disorders anorexia and bulimia affect nearly 10 million women and 1 million men.

One cause of eating disorders is the ideal body image that we have in our society. With models and actresses being extremely thin, girls and women are striving to be more like them; however, these are truly unrealistic and unhealthy ideals. The average supermodel is 5'10'' and weighs only 120 pounds, while the average women is 5'4'' and 169 pounds. The numbers themselves show how difficult it would be for the average women to reach these ideals. In order for the average woman to have the same body mass index (bmi)  as the average supermodel she would have to lose 69 pounds. The bmi of the supermodel is 17.2 and anything under 18.5 is underweight; so not to mention the difficulty of losing 69 pounds, but those that strive for the ideal body image are striving to be underweight. The way that women and girls are reaching these ideals is by developing eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.