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Eat Disord. 2004 Summer;12(2):97-102.

A critical appraisal of the anorexia statistics in The Beauty Myth: introducing Wolf's Overdo and Lie Factor (WOLF).

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  • 1Trimbos Institute, The Netherlands.


In her first book, The Beauty Myth the American feminist writer Naomi Wolf wrote about an epidemic of anorexia nervosa in Western countries. Today, her statistics are still cited in the media and in scientific publications. When compared to the relevant epidemiological reviews, however, 18 of the 23 statistics are inaccurate and overdone. On average, a statistic on anorexia by Naomi Wolf should be divided by eight to get close to the real figure. Implications of this finding are discussed.

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