BEDA in Agreement with ANAD Express Concern about Vogue’s Decision to Exploit an Eight Year Old’s Disturbing Dieting Journey

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The decision of Vogue to print “Weight Watcher” summarizing the methods chosen by a mother, who put her daughter Bea on a year long restrictive diet is of great concern to ANAD and BEDA. Vogue should take responsibility for exploiting Bea's painful weight loss journey.

Vogue must take responsibility for publishing an article that normalizes disordered eating and contempt for bodies.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) and Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) express concern about Vogue magazine’s decision to publish the story of an eight year old girl’s disturbing dieting journey.

ANAD and BEDA protest the decision of Vogue to publish an article about a mother’s approach toward a year long diet imposed on her young daughter. Experts and advocates in the field of eating disorders and obesity do not support the approach used by mother Dara-Lyn. ANAD and BEDA believe that the "Weight Watcher" article found in the April 2012 Vogue normalizes disordered eating.

Vogue’s decision to run this article adds to the child’s humiliation and shame, according to experts at ANAD and BEDA. "Bea is not an adult who can determine whether or not her journey should be public" stated Chevese Turner of BEDA, "with the publication of this story, readers from all over the world are privy to BEA’s story and she will likely be increasingly judged, based on her size, over and over again throughout her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is worrisome for her overall health, including mental status."

Laura Discipio, LCSW [executive director of ANAD comments: “Dara-Lynn stated that Bea has not exhibited symptoms of intense psychological damage," yet the article reports “tears of pain fill her (Bea’s) eyes as she reflects on her year long journey.” Laura continues, "Dara-Lynn was engaging in behaviors that most clinicians and parents would agree were detrimental to Bea. The methods and tactics used by Dara-Lynn in front of Bea’s peers, coupled with public shaming in a well-read magazine, may indeed produce long-term psychological damage, including an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. ANAD advocates for overall wellness not weight, including help for emotional, physical and social well being.”

Chevese Turner, CEO of BEDA adds: “Research indicates dieting at such a young age can actually result in weight gain and eating disorders, which have the highest death rate of any mental health illness. Childhood is a dynamic period; professionals and parents need to think twice before prescribing or implementing a diet. They must also consider that research shows stigmatizing, shaming, and bullying around a person’s size can also result in weight gain and eating disorders. Every good intention can have a negative outcome.”

Vogue editors and Dara-Lynn are invited to contact BEDA or ANAD so they can talk to experts and others whose life of pain and struggles around food began with eerie similarity to Bea’s experience over the last year. We also ask that all readers respond to Vogue editors with their dismay at using this child’s experience to sell magazines.

ANAD was founded in 1976 and advocates for the development of healthy attitudes, bodies, and behaviors. ANAD promotes eating disorder awareness, prevention and recovery through supporting, educating and connecting individuals, families and professionals.

BEDA was founded to help those who have binge eating disorder, their friends and family, and those who treat the disorder. BEDA provides individuals who suffer from binge eating disorder with the recognition and resources they deserve to begin a safe journey toward a healthy recovery. BEDA also serves as a resource for treatment providers to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat the disorder.

Available for Interviews:
Laura Discipio, Executive Director of ANAD
Chevese Turner, Executive Director of BEDA
Treatment & research specialists for the spectrum of eating disorders

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