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Anorexia nervosa may be characterized as when a person refuses to maintain his body weight of at least 85% of the expected weight that he should have according to his body mass index. Individuals tend to display a great sense of fear of putting on weight and literally have a phobia of ‘getting fatter’. They may also exhibit a much-distorted image of what is a perfect body type to them and reduce their intake of food to an alarming extent in order to stay thin. Moreover, in many young girls, an irregular menstrual cycle or an absence of the same can be a characteristic of anorexia or even reduced appetite and eating.
Many people suffering from anorexia eat in front of other people in order to not let their problem out in the open, but often vomit out their food, exhibiting signs of bulimia, or abuse themselves by taking laxatives to take out the food from their body. Extreme weight loss accompanied with fainting and an abnormal blood count is the first symptoms of the eating disorder and if parents see these signs in their children then they should be alarmed and take necessary recourse in order to counter the problem.
There are societies where it is alright to be thin and anorexia as an eating disorder is not given much thought to because parents think it alright for their children to lose weight and look good in society. Losing weight by exercising while eating necessary healthy foods is a perfectly viable option for a young adult but in no society should suffering from an eating disorder be considered okay.