When is thin too thin?
February 12, 2008
In today's media-rich world kids, particularly girls, face tremendous pressure to be thin. This often leads to a negative body image and eating disorders. One study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (2001) reported that 27% of Ontario girls 12-18 years old were engaged in severely problematic food and weight behaviour.
On Sunday March 2, 2008, TVO uses the power of television and the internet to explore the issues surrounding eating disorders. At 9 pm the gritty, feature-length documentary Thin follows four women struggling with anorexia and bulimia. Immediately following the film at approximately 10:45 pm, Your Voice, TVO's online parenting program at www.tvoparents.com, will feature a panel discussion with experts on eating disorders and welcome questions and comments from the public.
Acclaimed photographer Lauren Greenfield began documenting eating disorders in 1997, originally for a story for Time magazine, and later for her book Girl Culture. In this sobering and hard-hitting, Emmy-nominated documentary Greenfield follows four young women coping with anorexia and bulimia at the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida. In vérité style Greenfield's camera captures early-morning weight checks, emotionally draining mealtimes, tearful therapy sessions, and tense encounters with staff and family members. The film also chronicles the efforts of therapists, counsellors and nurses. Often, vigilance isn't enough, and patients relapse into purging or hiding food. For some patients health insurance runs out, and they are forced to leave.
Unflinching and incisive, Thin is an emotional journey through the world of eating disorders that provides a greater understanding of their complexity, encompassing not just issues of food, body image or self-esteem, but also a mix of personal, familial, cultural and mental health concerns.
Following Thin, www.tvoparents.com's interactive parenting show Your Voice with host Cheryl Jackson will welcome a panel of experts to discuss the pressures on young children, particularly girls, to be thin. How can parents recognize the signs of an eating disorder? And what they can do to help their children get well and feel good about themselves?
- Dr. Sheri Findlay, pediatrician and division head and medical director
of the McMaster Children's Eating Disorder Program in Hamilton
- Carolyn Mayeur, who helped establish Danielle's Place, an eating
disorders centre in Burlington, following the death of her 25-year-old
daughter Danielle from anorexia.
- Heather Jessop, instructor for the "Reflections of Me" body-image
program delivered to some elementary school children in Ontario. Heather wrote the curriculum for Grades 1 and 6 for the course, and leads workshops for elementary teachers interested in the program.
During the webcast, parents can send their questions directly to the
experts online at the Your Voice page at www.tvoparents.com, or by phone at 1.888.891.1195.
Your Voice and the www.tvoparents.com site were developed to help parents of early learners and school-age children become involved in their kids' education, and make it the best it can be.