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Dying to be thin

             Is the world of the famous pressuring us to be thin? With one touch of a button, all we have to do is turn on the TV and all we see are our favorite stars thin and beautiful. Then we have others who need to gain weight for "special" movies that need the character to gain weight. For example: Renee Zellweger needed to gain 20 pounds for the character Bridget Jones in her upcoming sequel. Courtney Thorne-Smith, was co-star of "Ally McBeal," when she quit the hit television series, citing the pressure to lose weight. Anorexia Nervosa, the compulsion to starve yourself or drastically lose weight through obsessive exercise, vomiting, or use of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills, is the most dangerous of all psychiatric illnesses. Up to 15 percent of people with anorexia die of complications such as heart arrhythmia, kidney or liver damage and organ failure. Between two and five percent of people with anorexia commit suicide. Many skeptical people think eating disorders are a fad of the rich and famous (and those who want to be) In reality, eating disorders are serious illnesses that have been with us since ancient times. The early Romans were well known for bingeing and purging food. In the 9th Century, followers of St. Jerome starved themselves in the name of religion. Today, emaciated models and celebrities have made eating disorders glamorous. Zellweger was all shoulder blades and hip bones in Chicago, but lately she's drawn attention for the weight she added to reprise her role as Britain's favorite singleton in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. She first balked at gaining -- she added about 20 pounds for the 2001 Bridget Jones's Diary, prompting editors at Harper's Bazaar to pull her off the magazine's cover -- before relenting, purportedly after producers increased her paycheck by $112,000 for every pound gained. Critics and women's organizations alike have criticized Hollywood for portraying women in an unhealthy light.

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