Movie About Anorexia Stirring Up Controversy

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) --  A movie that's not even out yet is already stirring up some controversy, a Netflix movie called 'To The Bone'. The movie centers around a girl's struggle with an eating disorder.

Ellen is 20-years-old and battling anorexia. She has struggled with the disease throughout most of her teenage years.

Some people worry that this movie may glamorize eating disorders.

Debbie Brooks is a licensed certified social worker and said her first impression after hearing about the movie was that it could be good to raise awareness about anorexia because it is such a serious illness.

“I do understand the concern that it could trigger people because I have certain clients that I'm telling please do not watch it because you aren't at a point in your treatment where you need to watch it,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the movie could help family members recognize that their child may have an eating disorder because the teenage years when eating disorders usually develop can be confusing.

“Parents don't know what's normal and what's not and our society has such a strong culture of dieting and food issues, parents don't know what is normal,” she said.

1 in 200 women in the United States have an eating disorder and among the college population it's about 10 percent.

Brooks said they are finding out that 50 to 80 percent of the tendencies for an eating disorder are genetically linked.

She said it's extremely important for parents to recognize the signs of eating disorders.

“Anorexia in particular has the highest mortality rate among any emotional illness and one in five women that suffer from an eating disorder usually will die,” she said.

Brooks encourages parents to never talk about losing weight or dieting, but instead to talk about eating healthy. She also encourages parents to model healthy eating and exercising.

If you or someone you know needs help with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorders Association for help.

The movie premieres Friday (July 14) on Netflix.