Dr. Marian Tanofsky-Kraff is a Professor of Medical & Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University. She is an expert on eating disorders in military settings. She and I first met in the fall of 2017, when we were invited to speak on a panel about eating disorder stereotypes before congress by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Because of my personal experience with having an eating disorder while in the military, I was very excited to meet her and learn from her. In this interview, Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff and I discuss her research. We talk about what factors contribute to a prevalence of eating disorders within the military, and what she and others are doing to further the research in this area.
She also talks about ways we as a society can support those with eating disorders. Whether or not you’re personally impacted by the trend of eating disorders in the military, this episode will be eye-opening and informative!
The prevalence of eating disorders in the military
The fact that instances bulimia and binge eating are especially high for military members
Situational eating disorders, which can be brought on by a variety of factors inherent to military life
Why eating disorders are harder to spot in the military, and at times even encouraged for a variety of reasons
Why service members feel ashamed to seek treatment for eating disorders (or any medical issue, really!)
Why eating disorders can be not only debilitating, but actually career ending for service members
How genetics play a huge role in the development of eating disorders
Military body composition standards, and how they sometimes penalize people with more muscle mass and those that are actually more in shape
Solutions that the military healthcare system could consider adopting to reduce the prevalence of eating disorders in the military
Ways that we as a society can begin to better support our service members
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