Gender Bias: Studies concentrate mainly on women's attitudes to eating behaviour. However, in men, homosexuality is a risk factor for disordered eating. This has been attributed to the male gay subculture emphasising body ideals.
Real-World Application: Some cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can cause gastrointestinal illness. When paired with food consumption, taste aversions can occur.
Evolutionary Approach: Evolutionary theorists suggest the primary stimulus for hunger is food's positive-incentive value, as tastes may be associated with foods that promote our survival.
Real-World Application: The main reason that overweight people continue to eat excessive amounts is because of the overproduction of NPY. This may lead to a vicious cycle where NPY leads to eating and more fat cells, which in turn produce more NPY.
Free Will or Determinism: Lipoprotein Lipase is an enzyme produced by fat cells to help store calories as fat. Higher levels mean higher weight gain. It was suggested that weight loss activates the gene producing the enzyme.
Cultural Bias: Some groups find it harder to diet as they have a natural inclination to obesity. For example, Asian adults are more prone to obesity than Europeans.
Ethical Issues: Researchers use internet communities for sources of qualitative data, including discussion boards, chatrooms and newsgroups. However, this raises several ethical questions, relating to privacy, informed consent and the protection of confidentiality.
Real-World Application: The fashion industry in France has signed a charter of good will to try to prevent the damaging effects of the media. This pledges that fashion houses, advertising agencies and magazine editors use a diversity of body types.
Real-World Application: Implications for insurance payouts. In the US, treatment is restricted under many insurance plans as it is not ‘biologically based’. Biological explanations for anorexia suggest that it should be treated the same way.
Gender Bias: Most studies focus on women, yet 25% of adults with eating disorders are men. It may be that men try to escape attention.