We all know there is an epidemic of eating disorders in this country. They are the most deadly of any of the psychological disorders. The majority of its victims are girls and young women, but anorexia is also increasingly affecting young men. What we might not know is that we can all play a part in the prevention of this disease. We are aware that bacteria spread infection, but that common sense precautions, like hand-washing and vaccinations, can help prevent bacterial illness. Eating disorders can have a number of causes, but a significant causal factor is the omnipresence in the media of dangerously thin women. Up until the 1970’s, eating disorders were rare. If we chart the height and weight of Miss America during the 20th century we can see how “ideal” body types for women have drastically changed. Miss America 1952 was 143 lbs, and in 1965 she was 5’6” and 124 lbs. It was in the 1990’s that Miss America’s height shot up and her weight plummeted, putting most contestants below the World Health Organization’s cutoff for emaciation. Since 2002, these stats for Miss America aren’t even made public. Even more toxic are the relentless images of anorexic women in the media, a powerful message to girls that their normal bodies are defective. Who decided that the ideal woman’s body should change like this? It certainly wasn’t women themselves, nor was it the men who love them. Research shows most men are not attracted to stick-thin women whose bodies remind them of themselves as young adolescents. We should all be asking the question as to who benefits from women and girls feeling relentlessly insecure about their bodies. And it is when we all begin simply noticing the destructive images, and then speaking out against them, that change really can begin to happen. The life of someone we love could be at stake.