Raising Awareness of Eating Disorders
by Julianna Strano
At the beginning of each year individuals of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and walks of life join together to show support and spread awareness about eating disorders. This week is known as Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
“Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW) is an annual campaign to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders and to provide hope, support, and visibility to individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2023 is taking place Monday, February 27 - Sunday, March 5,” as stated by The National Eating Disorders Association.
The topic of eating disorders is one that holds a great amount of importance as a large number of individuals are affected. According to The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 28.8 million individuals in the United States are affected by an eating disorder in their lifetime.
NEDA goes on to state, “Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.”
Eating disorders are complex and have the power to take a toll on the mental and physical health of many. Showing support and understanding to those who struggle can make a positive impact.
NEDA explains how serious eating disorders are; they aren't just a “trend” or something you “catch”.
“Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. They are not just a “fad” or a “phase.” People do not just “catch” an eating disorder for a period of time. They are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships,” as stated by NEDA.
“Awareness can lead to prevention and early diagnosis and treatment. Familiarity with eating disorders can also lead to increased consciousness and empathy for those who are suffering or struggling while decreasing the stigma often associated with these mental illnesses,” as stated in an article by Eating Disorder Hope.
The more individuals educate themselves on the topic and understand warning signs, characteristics, and behaviors, the more they can show support and help those who struggle.
“With the distorted images portrayed by the media or the many stereotypes that exist, it may be confusing to understand exactly what an eating disorder is or the various types of eating disorders. Having knowledge and understanding about the different kinds of eating disorders and their characteristics can be beneficial in increasing awareness of these complex diseases,” as stated by Eating Disorder Hope.
During Eating Disorder Awareness Week, individuals put in their best efforts to educate themselves and others, spread awareness and show support. Important information floods various social media platforms, dietitians and nutritionists will share campaigns and spread awareness. Those who have been affected often share their personal stories or recovery journeys. Many individuals are starting conversations and spreading important information to educate and support one another during this week.
It's important that these conversations and efforts of education continue as the week comes to an end each year. Spreading awareness and showing support matters all year long, and it truly can make a difference.
Julianna Strano is a senior at The University of Arizona majoring in journalism and sociology. Julianna is passionate about all topics related to health and wellness and has the goal of educating and informing others through her writing. Julianna joined the editorial staff of Today's Patient to have the opportunity to help educate others on patient rights and discuss topics that she is passionate about.
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