The Link Between Technology and Eating Disorders
Many people use nutritional and fitness trackers to monitor their habits in hopes to achieving a healthier lifestyle. However, when someone with disordered eating or an eating disorder has access to these tools the results may be problematic.
People with eating disorders can be incredibly controlling when it comes to what they eat, when they eat, and how much they eat. Someone with an eating disorder may be constantly thinking about the calories he or she has consumed or will consume in the future. This makes nutritional and fitness trackers that are available for free on someone’s smart phone particularly concerning. Because people with eating disorders obsess over their body, it can be assumed that the reminders and nutritional stats available on trackers would aid in their obsession.
Those affected by eating disorders may have difficulty understanding that these trackers are often just motivational tools not something that is necessarily verified to be 100% accurate. People with eating disorders may be likely to track every morsel of food that they consumed down to the exact number of kernels of popcorn eaten as well as the precise number of exercises they completed. This can be problematic, as these fitness and nutritional trackers may not give correct or beneficial information. Therefore, people with eating disorders may obsess over information that is not medically true and may not be of sound medical advice.
Fitness Trackers Focused on Losing Weight Rather than Overall Health
Additionally, having this information is concerning because many of these trackers are focused on losing weight rather than overall health. This is an issue for someone with an eating disorder as they may already be severely underweight. It can be problematic for someone to be praised by these trackers for losing weight when a medical professional would not praise their weight loss.
Although fitness and nutritional smart phone applications may be designed to help people achieve their fitness and nutritional goals, when the nutritional and fitness goals of the individual are not healthy the unsound intersection of technology and eating disorders can detrimental to people’s health and wellness.