Time to talk about eating disorders
This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The theme this year is, “It’s Time to Talk About It.” A few points to consider from the National Eating Disorders Association:
In the United States, up to 10 million females are battling an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Photo credit: HBO
- Eating disorders are illnesses, not choices: While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are about much more than food. Recent research has shown that genetic factors create vulnerabilities (anxiety, obsessions, perfectionism) that place individuals at risk for acting on cultural pressures and messages and triggering behaviors such as dieting or obsessive exercise. In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Approximately 15 million more are struggling with binge eating disorder.
- Prevention, education and access to care are critical: 80% of all ten year olds are afraid of being fat. The average age of eating disorder sufferers is dropping rapidly (as young as elementary school), with peak onset among girls ages 11-13. As a culture, it is time for all communities to talk about eating disorders, address their causes, advocate for access to treatment and take preventative action.
- Help is available, and recovery is possible: While eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, there is help available and recovery really is possible. Refer to NEDA online at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or call the NEDA Helpline: 800 931-2237.
Have you or a loved one suffered from an eating disorder? What helped you most in your recovery?