Frances Chan: A Forced Eating Disorder Diagnosis

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College students are notoriously known for not taking care of themselves. From pulling all-nighters and drinking copious amounts of alcohol, to the lack of exercise, the stereotypical college kid has created con­cern for health professionals in the past. But when Yale student Frances Chan had sched­uled an appointment with a specialist over a breast exam, a diagnosis for an eating disor­der was not something she was OK leaving with.

Women struggle with the thought of body image. There always seems to be room for improvement or necessary criticism. How­ever, it is rare that you see a 20-something student look out for her health and physical responsibilities while in school. Chan was merely looking to have an exam when she was presented with the “fact” that she clear­ly had an eating disorder.

Weighing in at 90 pounds, the physi­cians at Yale insisted she see therapists and nutritionists as well as participate in weekly weigh-ins. But the real issue is why did no one listen to Chan when she provided evi­dence that she obviously was not struggling with an eating disorder?

It has been a conscious ongoing battle with women and their body image for the past 100 years or so, given that advertising began to take a hit at women’s insecurities in order to sell product. But when it comes down to doctors and physicians telling their patients they have eating disorders when there is proof that no such thing is an issue, it crosses a scary line.

I think the reason Frances Chan’s story is so disturbing is that idea that Chan con­sidered herself healthy rather than someone with an eating disorder. According to the Love Your Body Now Foundation, as many as 10 million girls and women suffer from eating disorders alone in the U.S. Chan is not one of them, but started to consider her new eating habits as a warning sign if she had continued to eat in the manner she did to try and put on weight.

In a letter to the Huffington Post, she said, “I don’t have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one.”

While there are many women and men who struggle with eating disorders, it is un­fortunate one woman has to fight for her right to not be a statistic. Even with the “help” she received, it simply made a non-existent situ­ation worse when there are plenty of indi­viduals crying for the same kind of help.

Amber is a sophomore majoring in pub­lic relations and advertising. Check out her blog at http://addcreamandsugar.blogspot. com

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