National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

25 02 2009

neda_poster-awareness_09-05-08forwebThis week, February 22-28, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year’s theme is: …until eating disorders are history.


According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the mission of this week is to “ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment.”


Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses (not choices), and it’s essential to realize the pressures, outlooks and behaviors that form the disorder.


The most common eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa, a possibly life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and extreme weight loss.

  • Binge eating disorder, the most common one, is characterized by eating large amounts of food in a very little period of time until the person is uncomfortably full. Binge eating disorder is very similar to bulimia except people don’t use a method of purging (vomiting, fasting, laxatives, etc.) after a binge.

  • Bulimia nervosa, another possibly life-threatening eating disorder, is characterized by a period of bingeing and behaviors like self-induced vomiting created to undo or make up for the effects of binge eating.


People with eating disorders regularly use food and food control in to try to make up for feelings and emotions that may otherwise appear to be overpowering. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may start as a method of coping with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life. Eventually, these behaviors will harm a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.

Common myths about eating disorders (from

Myth #1: You have to be underweight to have an eating disorder. People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Many individuals with eating disorders are of average weight or are overweight.

Myth #2: Only teenage girls and young women are affected by eating disorders. While eating disorders are most common in young women in their teens and early twenties, they are found in men and women of all ages.

Myth #3: People with eating disorders are vain. It’s not vanity that drives people with eating disorders to follow extreme diets and obsess over their bodies, but rather an attempt to deal with feelings of shame, anxiety, and powerlessness.

Myth #4: Eating disorders aren’t really that dangerous. All eating disorders can lead to irreversible and even life-threatening health problems, such as heart disease, bone loss, stunted growth, infertility, and kidney damage.

 For more information about eating disorders, check out,




One response

24 02 2010
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2010 «

[…] to realize the pressures outlooks and behaviors that form the disorder. (For more info, check out this post I wrote about it last […]

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