Did You Know... February 25 - March 3 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week?
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Posted by: Karen Hardin
Eating disorders encompass a wide range of behaviors, including binge eating, purging, compulsive or over-exercise, and extreme dieting and restriction. Although eating disorders are diagnosed in only a small proportion of the population, many more people report feeling dissatisfied with their body, weight, and shape. Starting by age 6, children, especially girls, start to express body image concerns, which are later exacerbated by bullying and weight stigma beginning in elementary school. Taken together, not only do body image concerns and weight stigma at a young age create a largely increased risk for eating disorders, but also a host of other physical health issues and psychological disorders. Anorexia nervosa, arguably one of the most serious eating disorders, is still without an effective treatment and has been found to have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
Come as You Are: A Move Towards Inclusivity
To combat the growing concerns surrounding these disorders, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has designated the week of February 25th through March 3rd as National Eating Disorders Awareness week. Come as You Are, this year’s theme, was chosen to bring awareness to eating disorders in diverse communities. Historically, eating disorders have been viewed as an infliction affecting primarily middle to upper-class white, heterosexual females. Up until the past decade, the vast majority of research on eating disorders was focused on this population. Thus, individuals belonging to nearly every other gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity have been neglected to be included in the conceptualization and classification of these disorders, and consequently, the development of sensitive and culturally appropriate treatments. Come as You Are is a movement towards greater inclusivity, inviting people of all backgrounds to contribute to the narrative and share their unique stories, experiences and perspectives on eating disorders. The theme also encourages individuals struggling with body image and acceptance to “come as you are, not as you think you should be”.
Want to get involved? Take part in NEDA’s Body Acceptance Challenge, open to all who want to improve their body image and move towards acceptance. Or join the conversation on their Facebook page and use the hashtag #NEDAwareness. Visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness to learn more.
Are you or someone you know struggling with body image concerns or symptoms of an eating disorder? Visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/where-do-i-start-0 to start the road to recovery, or contact any of the listed hotlines for support, other resources, and to learn more about treatment options.
Crisis Text Line: text “NEDA” to 741741
Helpline: (800) 931-2237
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
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Golden, N. H., Schneider, M., & Wood, C. (2016). Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(3).
Smolak, L. (2011). Body image development in childhood. In T. Cash & L. Smolak (Eds.), Body Image: A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford.
Watson, H. J., & Bulik, C. M. (2013). Update on the treatment of anorexia nervosa: review of clinical trials, practice guidelines, and emerging interventions.