Before 18 July, 2017 Isabel Vallejo
Being obese, but seeing oneself as healthy and thin is the main symptom of megarexia, a condition that affects 8 of every 10 people that are obese.
This is an eating disorder that affects 8 of every 10 obese people in the world. It can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems.
“They are known as ‘fat and happy’ people or people who are complacent and refuse to accept their physical condition,” Dunia De Martini Romero explains to EFE, head of the clinical department of the Héctor Tovar Acosta Psychiatric Hospital, part of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS, Spanish acronym).
According to a study led by the American Psychiatric Association, 85% of obese people in the world suffer from this disorder and for every anorexic person that is accounted for, there are at least 10 megarexic people.
Some of the symptoms associated with this disorder include always looking at oneself in a full-body mirror, not acknowledging one’s own weight, using loose-fitting clothes that keep the body hidden, complaining that everything is too big for them, getting upset when someone makes a comment about their own eating habits or believing that their scale is broken.
According to the specialist, this condition leads people to not pay attention to their eating habits and puts people at risk of “…not noticing their obesity and to uncontrollable eating. They tend to eat junk food, which is harmful to one’s health.”
Megarexia affects both women and men, however it is more common in women who are in their twenties and thirties. There is no specific cause of the condition, however environmental and psychological factors play a role, as well as self-esteem.
“This disorder is considered to be the opposite of anorexia,” the specialist adds. People with megarexia are known for careless eating, they often do not eat nutritious foods, and the nutritional deficiency that develops leads to biochemical changes in the brain, which is why they are not aware they are suffering from the disease. (Related article: The thin line of being curvy.)
“The problem is that because they are not aware of their physical condition, these people devel0p obesity-related health problems,” De Martini further explains.
Our specialist recommends changing the mindset that a healthy child is a fat child, “…because this is the age where denial about being overweight begins.” She also recommends being more aware of “…the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.” Read: Best practices for preventing childhood obesity.
This condition was only recently discovered and was classified as an eating disorder in 2009.