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© Lauren Greenfield

THIN is a photographic essay and a documentary film about the treatment of eating disorders. In 1997, while on assignment for Time, Greenfield began documenting the lives of patients at the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, a forty-bed residential facility for the treatment of women with eating disorders. She subsequently returned to Renfrew to take more photographs, and was eventually given unprecedented access to film the daily lives of patients. Thin provides a window into the complicated and difficult process of treatment, the culture of rehab, and the experience of struggling with an eating disorder. The result is an experiential and emotional journey that allows a greater understanding of the complexity of eating disorders: that they are not simply about food or body image or self-esteem, but a tangle of personal, familial, cultural and mental health issues.

The statistics are sobering and gender-biased. One in seven women has an eating disorder; anorexia ranks as the third most-common chronic illness among adolescent females; and 64% of college-aged women have experienced eating-disorder symptoms. The sufferers are largely female (over 90%) and include women of all ages and ethnicities. With a mortality rate over 10%, anorexia is the deadliest of all psychiatric disorders. THIN reveals the human faces and the stories behind the statistics of this growing mental illness.

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