It’s been known for quite a while that young people with eating disorders often claim they’re vegetarian as a way to justify starving themselves. And now a new study has once again pointed out this tendency.
Now, there’s never been any evidence that being vegetarian for sincere reasons makes a young person more likely to develop eating disorders. On the contrary, teenage vegetarians are consistently found to be leaner than their peers and to enjoy good health. But thanks to the publication of this new study, the mainstream press is doing some truly inept reporting that connects vegetarianism to eating disorders.
See, if you’re going to use the headline: “Study: Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder?” it would make sense to actually answer the damned question in the article. But this Time.com piece just dances around the point. And, appallingly, the piece doesn’t elaborate on the fact that some of these self-described vegetarians actually eat meat. Because why let the facts stand in the way of a perfectly good story?
Back before blogging took off, Time magazine could publish crap like this and there really wasn’t anything anyone could do. They’d get cartloads of angry letters from vegetarians, and perhaps they’d deign to publish a few in next week’s magazine, undoing a tiny amount of the damage. But today, running a piece like this really undermines Time’s credibility.
The real story here isn’t about vegetarianism, but rather the incompetence of mainstream media in reporting about simple and easily-understood dietary issues. Link.