National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

ImageBy Molly Clarke

Each year, during the last week of February, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) organizes and sponsors N.E.D. Awareness Week. According to the N.E.D.A. website, “N.E.D. Awareness Week is a collective effort of primary volunteers, including eating disorder professionals, health care providers, students, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers that are surrounding eating disorders and the needs for early intervention and treatment.”

The goal of N.E.D. Awareness Week is to not only prevent eating disorders and poor body image but to also reduce the stigma surrounding these issues and to address the societal pressures, behaviors, and attitudes that often cause eating disorders. By teaching others about the dangers of eating disorders, N.E.D.A. hopes to improve overall access for eating disorder treatments.

Perhaps one of the most controversial and stigmatized medical conditions, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. In fact, the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the fatality rate of all other causes of death for females between 15 and 24 years old.

The theme of N.E.D. Awareness Week in 2012 is, “Everybody Knows Somebody.” N.E.D.A. is asking everyone to do one thing this week to help promote eating disorder awareness and provide others with accurate information regarding them. Suggested activities include distributing informational pamphlets or posters, making arrangements for educated speakers to talk to classmates or co-workers, posting information in social media circles, and many others. The goal is to attract public media attention on local, national, and even international levels to shed light on the seriousness of eating disorders.

For more information regarding eating disorders and treatment, visit the NEDA website.

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