DOCTOR IN FIJI SURPRISED BY BULIMIA AND ANOREXIA CLAIMS

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 21, 1999 – Radio Australia)---A doctor in Fiji has expressed surprise at a new Harvard University study suggesting a link between a rise in eating disorders in Fiji and the arrival of television.

The study's findings were presented to the American Psychiatric Association this week by Harvard researcher Becker.

She claimed in her comments that since the introduction of television in Fiji in 1995, eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia have increased five-fold among teenage girls.

Becker reported that 74 percent of Fijian girls reported feeling too big or too fat, and 15 percent inducing vomiting to prevent weight gain.

But, Dr. Mirdula Sainath, a women's health activist in Fiji, said the findings should be treated with caution.

"Look, I do a lot of school outreach programs. . . especially in women's health and self-esteem and I'm surprised that there's such a high percentage.

"Yes, we occasionally have girls worried about being big - anywhere in the world - but that figure sounds a bit too out of the way for me, Dr. Sainath said.

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