This week, February 22-28, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week across the country. I feel that this is something extremely important that people are more aware of and know more about. It’s not something constrained to teenage girls…it’s far more wide-reaching than that and is about more than just weight.
First, I’ll give you some statistics*:
1. 42% of 1st-3rd graders want to be thinner.
2. 10-15% of those with anorexia or bulimia are MEN.
3. 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape
4. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.
5. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
6. 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
Several companies, such as Dove, have decided to fight the media’s negative influence by turning it positive.
So, I guess you may be wondering why this awareness week is something important to me. It’s important to me because I’ve been there personally. I know the pain, both emotional and physical, that this disorder causes not only to the patient but also to the family of the patient. There are absolutely no words than can describe the torment of these disorders. It’s almost like you lose everything–friends, control, life. People don’t understand why these things happen. There’s not an easy answer to that. Just know that if someone is going through this, don’t abandon them…try to understand, but most importantly, make sure you treat others in a way that you want to be treated–don’t call others fat or ugly because they will eventually believe it. And with believing it could come serious consequences, even death. I struggled for almost 10 years with anorexia nervosa (binge-purge tendencies). It took me a long time to get where I am, and I never want to go back. It’s not a pleasant place to be, and I doubt I’d come through it alive. I am recovered, but there will always be that little nagging that urges me to go back to it–never again. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Does that get the point across as to why this is important? It’s a deep dark hell that no person should ever have to know. Promote the positive, and help promote a healthy body image.
*All information was obtained from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
Until next time,