EATING DISORDERS AND SOCIETY Eating disorders are complex illnesses that affect adolescents with increasing frequency. They rank as the third most common chronic illness in adolescent females, with an incidence of up to 5%, a rate that has increased dramatically over the past three decades. Two major subgroups of the disorders are recognized: a restrictive form, in which food intake is severely limited (anorexia nervosa), and a bulimic form, in which binge eating episodes are followed by attempts to minimize the effects of overeating via vomiting, catharsis, exercise or fasting (bulimia nervosa). These eating disorders are complex illnesses, which in 90% of the cases affect young women in their teen years and early 20's. This has become a serious issue in our society, which has been brought on by society itself. In this paper, I will examine the effects of these eating disorders, and the role that society has played, and continues to play in perpetuating their existence while making inadequate attempts to slow down its progress. Anorexia Nervosa is a state of starvation and emaciation, which can be accomplished by severe dieting or by purging. People with anorexia nervosa become emaciated to the point of actual starvation, losing at least 15% to as much as 60% of normal body weight for age and height. Patients normally reduce weight by severely restricting their diets. Vomiting and abuse of laxatives, diuretics or exercise my also be part of this misplaced attempt to control weight. Anorexia nervosa occurs in ½% to 1% of girl's aged 13 to 17, peaking at age 15. If not treated, anorexia can lead to serious physical problems such as malnutrition, damage to the heart and kidneys, and even death. Bulimia nervosa, which is more common than anorexia, describes a cycle of bingeing and purging. A person with bulimia nervosa eats large amounts of high-calorie food in a short period of time, then uses vomiting and/or laxatives to purge the food before it can be absorbed by the body.