In addition to nourishing the body, food is a sign of warmth, acceptance and friendship. Meat consumption on a daily basis is associated with a high socioeconomic status, while consumption of vegetables only is associated with a low socioeconomic status. Eating large portions of food sends a message that one can afford to buy large quantities. Food is used for celebrations, rituals and as a way of welcoming people in the home. Food is also used during social occasions when people get together and meet socially. People reported eating sweets, ice cream and cakes on happy occasions, such as birthdays and weddings. Some people reported eating more food when they were depressed. People learn about what food to eat and when, at an early stage when they are being socialized. There are socially accepted norms and values surrounding people’s understanding of food. This information may be used in a constructive way to help people choose food wisely in order to prevent obesity.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by unrealistic fear of weight gain, self-starvation, and conspicuous distortion of body image. The name comes from two Latin words that mean nervous inability to eat. In females who have begun to menstruate, anorexia nervosa is usually marked by amenorrhea, or skipping at least three menstrual periods in a row. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV (1994), defines two subtypes of anorexia nervosa — a restricting type, characterized by strict dieting and exercise without binge eating; and a binge-eating/purging type, marked by episodes of compulsive eating with or without self-induced vomiting and the use of laxatives or enemas. DSM-IV defines a binge as a time-limited (usually under two hours) episode of compulsive eating in which the individual consumes a significantly larger amount of food than most people would eat in similar circumstances

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