Parinda Wanitwat: Living with Food Addiction

Listen 29 min

We all know what someone who lives with an eating disorder looks like:  Young, white and skinny!  Right?  But, as KPFA’s host physicist, Michio Kaku, says so often, “Hold on just a minute.” 

In actuality, research says that black girls between 11-14 may have a higher rate of eating disorder behavior than their white counterparts, especially when it comes to binge eating. The National Eating Disorders Association quotes a study that found that Hispanic and Asian girls in the 6th and 7th grade were more dissatisfied with their bodies than white girls their age. And, one study of Native American teenagers found that between 20 and 30 percent of the girls and the boys were purging.

Yes, boys and men live with eating disabilities too.  Adult and aging women are almost never in the studies so we don’t know how many are also living with these disabilities.   We do know that 50% of adult women have engaged in weight control that either causes or may cause disease.  And, that studies have found the same level of dieting and disordered eating in both young and old.

All these people, who don’t fit our stereotypes of people with eating disabilities, are under-represented in the research so we really don’t know how widespread anorexia, bulimia, food addiction and other chronic eating disabilities are.

Today we spend the program talking with Parinda Wanitwat, a 24 year old woman from Thailand who lives with bulima, a condition she has learned to control enough to call it Food Addiction.  She describes how she slowly accepted that she had a problem and how she has constructed her life to keep herself healthy.

Untreated eating disabilities are dangerous.  They can kill you.  If you are struggling with unhealthy eating, if you feel ashamed and out of control, you are not alone.  Many others who share your gender, ethnicity, age and other characteristics are walking this road right now.   You can have a better life.

Here’s a few places to begin:

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Support Groups (on-line and face-to-face)
Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

Overeaters Anonymous
Support Groups (on-line and face-to-face)

Original air date: May 6, 2016

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