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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow, February 23, marks the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness week.  Eating disorders afflict an estimated 23 million individuals, both male and female, in the U.S.  This week, The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) hopes to bring awareness to the complex and serious problem of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating.

Little Known Facts About Eating Disorders

There are several misconceptions surrounding eating disorders.  For example, a common misconception about eating disorders is that they only affect girls.  However, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that around 18% of teenage boys expressed extreme concern about their bodies.  Other facts about eating disorders include: 1) that social media, peer influence, and genetic factors are the three top predispositions to an eating disorder; 2) that nearly 50% of those afflicted with an eating disorder meet the criteria for having depression; and 3) that only 35% of eating disordered patients receive concurrent treatment for depression.

Eating Disorders Begin in the Home

Although the exact psychological or physiological bases for eating disorders are complex and misunderstood, NEDA hopes to highlight the fact that the easiest and most common incubator for eating disorders begins in the home.  For example, 80% of 10-year-olds reported having concerns about being overweight in a recent survey conducted by NEDA.  Other research has shown significant evidence pointing to the influence of mother’s body image on children’s eating disordered behaviors.  In fact, mother’s attitude toward body image was the third leading cause of eating disorders in teens and girls.  NEDA urges parents to be particularly careful with their words and actions, as they can clearly have a great impact on children’s eating habits.

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