Agata and Wiktoria play their guitars while Ania sings. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Ania in her room that she shares with two other girls. “I actually had no idea that they photoshopped the models in magazines or that people from Hollywood often had had plastic surgery,” she said. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

An eating disorder is the third most common ailment among teenagers. Worldwide, one out of five teens suffers from an eating disorder, such as anorexia and bulimia, which eventually can lead to heart failure and a malfunction of the internal organs, causing death.

In a world filled with perfectly photoshopped supermodels, the normality of plastic surgery and exhortations to control your own destiny, it is hard for a teen to have a healthy acceptance of his or her body.

This acceptance is even harder when a teen hears the voice of “Ana,” as many anorexia patients call the illness. It tells afflicted teens that they look fat, and that thinner is always better.

Eating disorders are not only about being thin, as many may think. They also are about control. And in a teenager’s often stressful life, nothing is easier to control than the intake of food.

In the small village of Malawa in the south of Poland, young girls and boys struggling with eating disorders stay in a little yellow house, get treatment and try to recover enough to go back to a normal life.


Karolina lays her head on the table, while other girls read or solve crossword puzzles. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Agata has suffered from anorexia for the last two years. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Kaia, Karolina, Ania, Carolina, Agata and Nikola sit outside the house they call their home for the summer. The breaks between meals and therapy are often spent on blankets on the grass. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Karolina sits with her teddy bear before dinner time. Using mobile phones is only allowed for two hours a week, and she misses her boyfriend and her parents. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

On the grass after breakfast. Agata reads a lot of books. She is anxious about getting well and tries to focus on her goals in life. She wants to become a photographer and to see Adele in concert. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Kaia and Natalia hug on their last day at the house. Kaia feels nervous about leaving Malawa, and is worried about a life without the daily scheduled meals and therapy. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

The lights are turned off at 10 p.m. Karolina sleeps with a teddy bear. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

(From left) Karolina and Kaia quickly became friends after meeting on the morning of their first day in the house. Both girls had been hospitalized previous to this stay, Karolina for bulimia and Kaia for anorexia. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

(From left) One night, Kaia and Karolina sneak into the same bed and read magazines. In the morning, Karolina goes to her own bed before the nurses notice. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Breakfast is the only meal where the girls can choose what they eat. Kaia struggles with choosing which toppings to put on her yogurt. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

Ania sits outside and writes in her journal. She misses everyone back home. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

”Inside of me is a shadow side. I call her Ana,” said Kaia, about anorexia. The voice tells Kaia how bad and weak she is for eating her food, and how ugly she will become when she gains weight. (Marie Hald/MOMENT/INSTITUTE)

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