National Eating Disorders Awareness Week February 22 through the 28th
Poor body image runs rampant in our society today – especially in youth. More than 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time during their lives according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Eating disorders are serious. Results of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating range from pancreatitis, hair loss, tooth decay, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, gallbladder disease and more. NEDA also notes that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, so early intervention means saving lives.
The National Eating Disorders Awareness Week takes place Feb. 21 – 27 to spotlight eating disorders and improve public understanding of their causes, dangers and treatments. A focus of this year’s campaign is on early intervention via a three-minute confidential online eating disorders screening which can help determine if professional help is needed.
Generally, signs of eating disorders can vary from person to person. A few common signs to watch for include:
- Drastic diet changes, including evidence of binge eating or purging behaviors
- Sudden uptick in body-conscious commentary
- Skipping meals
- Obsessive exercising
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
Bottom line: if you notice any of the signs above in children or teens in your life, please seek professional help immediately. It’s also important to practice good eating habits/attitudes yourself and act as a positive role model.
To learn more about eating disorders, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org. To take NEDA’s free, confidential screening, visit http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/NEDA.