Body image can be a number one priority among adolescence, and if taken too far can lead to serious consequences. Women are more at risk for developing an eating disorder. The two most common types are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. More than 90% of cases of anorexia occur in females. It usually develops between the ages of 12 and 18 (onset of adolescence). People with anorexia usually have a fear of weight gain, have a distorted body image, or can have a denial of the seriousness of being underweight. Women can also develop amenorrhea ( the absence of 3 or more consecutive menstrual periods). A subtype of anorexia if the restricting type; this is weight loss through dieting, tasting, and excessive exercise. I have a friend who fits this description. She is always talking about eating and exercising. I can tell those are the things she worries about the most. She says things like "nothing sounded good so I just didn't eat". She is now under 100 pounds. She has always been petite so a healthy weight for her would be around 115. I try to encourage her to eat a variety of different things and I tell her she does not need to work out every day.
The next common eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. This involves eating unusually high quantity of food during a short period of time and then followed by purging. It is an onset in the late teens. Some consequences of this include: osteoporosis, dry yellowed skin, heart irregularities, hypotension, decay of tooth enamel, abdominal pain, and absence of menstruation, etc.
I think our society places great importance on appearance in defining who we are. Societal pressures can make adolescence have an unrealistic standard of thinness which is the number one reason why an eating disorder can develop. I think we need to send a message to teens that being healthy and active is what is important and not about how much one weighs.