Demi Lovato used social media Twitter over the Christmas weekend to criticize Disney and the fact that one of their shows used a joke that appears to make light of eating disorders. Lovato is the young singer, songwriter, musician, and actress who has been the star character “Sonny Munroe” of Disney’s sitcom “Sonny with a Chance” according to information from Wikipedia.
According to her Twitter account, Lovato wrote, ” Dear Disney Channel, EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT SOMETHING TO JOKE ABOUT.” (For those of you unaware, writing in CAPS is used to signify yelling.) One of the shows that raised the ire of Lovato is Disney’s “Shake it Up.”
Lovato also tweeted, “I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actress’ from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make joke about..” The anger really hit home for Lovato because she was the Disney actress that spent two months in a rehab clinic earlier in 2011 to deal with her own eating disorders.
The video attached to this article shows Lovato discussing the pain of dealing with her emotional state and her eating disorder. Obviously, the subject is very close to her heart. To Disney’s credit, they quickly responded by removing the insensitive reference.
It has only been a little over a year since the American Academy of Pediatrics released data showing that hospitalization for eating disorders has risen drastically in the last decade for kids in the US, as discussed in the article “More American kids suffering from eating disorders.” The data showed an increase of 119% in the number of kids needing in-patient treatment in just 7 years.
Parents and caretakers of children should know that health professionals consider eating disorders to be “deadly” mental health conditions that demand immediate medical attention. The Mayo Clinic says that signs and symptoms of eating disorders include the following:
- Refusal to eat or denial of hunger
- Having a negative or distorted self image
- Having an intense or irrational fear of gaining weight
- Self induced vomiting
- Menstrual irregularities
- Use of laxatives
- Frequent trips to the restroom during meal times or immediately following
- Eating to the point of discomfort or pain, or eating in a manic manner.
There are a much wider variety of symptoms of the various eating disorders, which include, but are not limited to:
- Anorexia Nervosa (refusal to eat)
- Bulimia Nervosa (binge and purge)
- Binge-eating Disorder
Time is very important when it comes to eating disorder because the damage done to the body can be swift and severe. It is not just loss of weight that can kill the patient. Chemical imbalances and strains on the heart and the cardiovascular system can kill within months of developing an eating disorder. Experts urge anyone who suspects that they themselves or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder should contact a health professional immediately.