Anorexia Risk Factors


AnorexiaRisk Factors

The article which this paper focuses on regards the discovery ofvarious environmental and genetic risk factors related to Anorexianervosa. King (2013) defines anorexia nervosa as an eating disorderwhich entails the relentless pursuit of thinness via starvation (p.333). As observed by the article’s author, the ailment is quiteprevalent in young people, and holds place as the third mostprevalent chronic illness among this demographic (Ellis, 2016). Thisfact is one I can personally attest to as I had a close friend whosuffered from anorexia, thus my primary impetus for selecting thisarticle.

The article reports on findings published in the journalTranslational Psychiatry, made by a team of scientistsfrom Columbia University Medical Centre. Although it has long beensuspected that a combination of psychological, biological,sociocultural, and genetic variables contribute to the development ofanorexia in humans, there were no suitable animal models thatreplicated the style of disease onset in humans. In the particularstudy cited within the article, the researchers experimented withmice, where they placed them on a restricted diet and isolated themsocially. Mice exposed to both variables altered their feedingbehaviors while those exposed to either one of the environmentalstressors did not change feeding habits.

From the article, it is evident that stress is a major risk factorfor anorexia. In the experiment with mice the stressor was socialisolation, while in humans, peer pressure is the major stressor.Stressors are events and circumstances which threaten individuals andimpair their coping abilities, and which cause physiologicalalterations to prepare the body to handle assault brought on bystress (King, 2013, p. 98). The response that individuals have toenvironmental stressors is what is referred to as stress.


Ellis, M. (2016, April 12). Anorexia: genetic and environmentalrisk factors uncovered. Retrieved from Medical News Today:

King, L. A. (2013). The Science of Psychology: An AppreciativeView 3. New York: Mc-Graw Hill.