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news: did michael jackson die of an eating disorder?

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Title/Topic: Did Michael Jackson Die of an Eating Disorder?
Posted On: 6/25/2009
June 25 2009 ( – The world mourns a great performer and musician… and rightly so, but the question needs to be asked: Did Michael Jackson die of an eating disorder? Numerous comments across the web and the airways suggest that the King of Pop weighed a little over XXX pounds* at the time of his death.

If that is true, it means the Jackson’s BMI at the time of his death was 14.3 when he died. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. If the reports of his weight are true, Jackson was XX pounds* under what would be considered the lowest healthy weight for a man of his 5′ 10″ size. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has an online BMI calculator.

Stress can be a major factor in many eating disorders. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by unwillingness to eat. The University of Maryland Medical Center’s web site says that “Anorexia is an emotional disorder that focuses on food, but it is actually an attempt to deal with perfectionism and a desire to control things by strictly regulating food and weight.”

Getting ready for his comeback in England, which reportedly sold out 50 shows, Jackson himself was reportedly worried that he was too weak to perform a full concert, let alone 50. Some have said that he admittedly ate very little. Many who saw him up close over the last few years said he was very frail.

Anorexia Nervosa is a condition normally associated with teenage girls, but it also affects women in their 20’s and older as well as some men. Pop singer Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters died in 1983 from anorexia. Like Jackson, she died from heart failure.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that eating disorders are “medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. People with eating disorders also can suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.”

Besides anorexia, other eating disorders are Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating Disorder. Unlike anorexia, in which an individual denies themselves food, the other disorders are characterized by eating massive amounts of food in an uncontrollable fashion. Bulimics force themselves to regurgitate their food in a series of behaviors known as “binge and purge.” Binge-Eating Disorders tend to gain a great amount of weight and are frequently overweight or obese.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that “Binge-eating disorder, which has received increasing research and media attention in recent years” is an eating disorder which is characterized as “eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS).”

Whatever the official cause of death turns out to be, Michael Jackson was clearly suffering from mental health issues. Regardless, may he rest in peace.

For more info: Eating disorders can be very dangerous and may lead to death. If you believe you may have an eating disorder, speak to health care professional immediately. It’s your life. It’s your body. It’s your health.


*Weights removed by Pale Reflections

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