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Saturday, June 4, 2016

It's Not Too Late To Take The Pledge: Promote World Eating Disorders Action Day Every Day

eating disorders
In the United States of America, much emphasis is put on how one looks. Just take a look at our magazines or sitcoms on television, more often than not the image you see will involve a beautiful women and/or a muscular man. Exposure to such images day in and day out, whether we like it or not—sets a standard for how everyone is “supposed” to look on the outside. However, many of us, in reality, will never look like super toned movie stars or unbelievably skinny models—but that does not keep people from trying.

This can be seen by the millions of people who work out at the local gym constantly or those whose meals consist of practically nothing. That is not to say that we shouldn’t all aspire to live healthy lives, eating right and exercising regularly, but often times such behaviors can become unhealthy—to the point of being potentially fatal.

Such obsessions about how one looks can manifest itself in a number of different ways, most commonly in the form of eating disorders. Let's face it, not every person has the time or luxury of hitting the gym five days a week. Fear of gaining weight will induce many to form unhealthy habits with food, which can trigger conditions such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Conditions which can develop at a very young age, and when left untreated can cause all sorts of health problems that again carry the potential to be fatal.

Eating disorders can go on for years before people seek treatment, or are encouraged to seek treatment by a loved one. What’s more, while eating disorders can occur right in front of friends and family—spotting such conditions can be extremely difficult because most people do not know how skinny is too skinny. Raising awareness and educating the public about how to spot the signs of an eating disorder is of the utmost importance—as it can save lives.

This month, the first ever World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD) took take place on June 2. The goal of WEDAD, according to the event's website is to:

“Unite eating disorder activists, professionals, parents/carers and those personally affected to promote worldwide knowledge of eating disorders and the need for comprehensive treatment.” 

The action day is also about promoting the “Nine Truths About Eating Disorders”:
  • Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
  • Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
  • Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
  • Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.
  • Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
  • Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
  • Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
  • Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
  • Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.
One of the main objectives of World Eating Disorders Action Day is to encourage as many people as possible to share the Nine Truths About Eating Disorders with friends and family through social media. It is important to realize that this is also about breaking the stigma around eating disorders, because such conditions can affect up to 70 million people on the planet.

Please Sign the Pledge to Be Stigma Free

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