Eating Disorders at LCHS


Mallory Avington, Editor

Social media has never been more popular than it is today. Teenagers are consistently exposed to unrealistic beauty standards demanded by corporations and exemplified by Hollywood celebrities.

Keeping up with those standards can be exhausting, but the general demand is for girls to be skinny and boys to be muscular, regardless of their health, BMI (Body Mass Index) and individual bodily needs.

Students at LCHS are not excluded from this. One LCHS senior opened up about her thoughts about dealing with an eating disorder. Cora* said eating disorders were something she and other high school students are exposed to in a variety of different ways.

“Being healthy is different than being ‘overly healthy’. Eating less can cause health issues that young teenagers are being introduced to this through social media. Teenagers are susceptible to negative body image, which can lead to bigger problems. Altering calories is detrimental and can be dangerous,” Cora* said.

Conforming to these trends in body image may be dangerous to one’s health and lead to issues such as low self-esteem and depression as well as serious medical problems such as bulimia, anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder and binge-eating disorders.

“Eating disorders are important in mental health discussions; you have to recognize criteria and realize that you might have one, then accept that it’s okay to talk about it. It’s a big part of adolescent health,” Mrs. Marcia James, the senior/sophomore counselor, said.

James said LCHS has students with eating disorders, but identifying students is often difficult.

Eating disorders are secret disorders and, most often, are under-reported,” she says. “With what I see from students, I see self-harm in other areas. I would say that less than fifty percent of students at our school suffer from eating disorders, but people see what they want to see; nobody wants to stand out or admit they have a problem from how heavily stigmatized eating disorders can be,” James added.

This is not a new problem.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, a trend coined as “heroin chic” took the scene by storm. It demanded that girls lose as much weight as possible in order for their hips to poke out over their low-rise jeans, and that their faces were gaunt to show off sharp cheek-bones.

This trend has recently resurfaced on platforms such as TikTok where any girl at any age could be exposed to it, which could potentially trigger relapses in eating disorders to fulfill the need to be seen as skinny and fit in with the rest of the crowd subscribing to this particular “aesthetic”.

Mandatory Reporting:

Many struggling students are afraid to come forth and admit their concerns about eating disorders or other mental health issues not only because of stigmatization, but also because they don’t even realize they have a health issue because they believe they look “normal”.

The biggest obstacle in getting help is that often the impacted student does not want others to know. And, if an eating disorder is reported to a school official, it must be reported.

Counselors, teachers, and all school employees are mandatory reporters.

This means that if a student were to confide in a teacher or staff member at LCHS, and it was found that the student may be at risk at home, or a potential risk to other students or to themselves, then that student’s case must be brought to their parents/guardians, programs such as CPS, or the police, with or without that student’s consent.

“I have to report cases where students could be in danger or pose as a danger to themselves or their peers, but first and foremost I talk to them. I let them know, confidentially, that I can give them resources and do my best to help. I use my judgement and education to decide if I need to report the situation on a case-by-case basis,” Counselor James said.

Students understand this, but they are conflicted with mandatory reporting.

“I understand why the guidance counselors have to report [eating disorders], and I’m also aware that it’s not the counselor’s fault that they have to. However, students should have at least one place where they can confide their emotions without facing repercussions,” Evelyn*, a senior, said.

Eating Disorders in Sports:

“I do notice that eating disorders can occur in sports, what with bulking for weightlifting or football. Boys don’t know how to properly moderate their diets and often have a tough time adjusting to weight limits or restrictions, so it can be unhealthy if [student athletes] aren’t taught about healthy eating for their sport,” James said.

Senior student Tyson* agrees.

“Many people that are into body-building and other sports can develop eating disorders because they try to manage their diets in extreme ways to get the best results in a short time period,” he explains. “It is common for body-builders to binge eat during a bulk and essentially starve themselves during a cut. Some people who participate in combat sports, such as boxing and wrestling, have to do weight cuts before a fight. This can lead to a cycle of binge-eating after an extreme weight cut.”

Participating in sports often burns a lot of calories, and it is critical that all stakeholders in the sport (player, coach, parents/guardians) are aware of this and make necessary dietary changes. Energy must be replaced in sports that burn a lot of calories.

Regardless of which season the sport falls under, participation in sporting activities such as football, soccer, track, marching band, cheerleading, and the flag corps, etc. requires dietary adjustments when practicing/performing in the cold or heat.


Physical effects of Anorexia include “bone-thinning, brittle nails and hair (keratin), infertility, and even heart, brain, and organ failure. If left untreated, Anorexia can be fatal.”

Bulimia may lead to “Sore throat, tooth decay, dehydration, heart attacks, and strokes.”

“Individuals with binge-eating disorder often experience issues associated with obesity, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.” via


National Eating Disorders Association: call or text 1-800-931-2237 or chat online at 

Eating Disorder Hope: call 1-855-783-2519 or visit

*For anonymity, Cora, Evelyn, and Tyson chose to use pseudonyms.