Groups recognize Eating Disorder Awareness Week

In this Wellington Advertiser article, NEDIC Director, Merryl Bear explains why Eating Disorders Awareness Week can be the ideal time to address how food and weight preoccupation negatively impacts one's ability to live a rich and connected life.  Read the full article here.

By The Wellington Advertiser
Vol 46 Issue 06, February 8, 2013

TORONTO

Most people know someone whose food and weight preoccupation negatively impacts his or her ability to live a rich and connected life. 

And for some, Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Feb. 3 to 9, can be the ideal time to address the matter.

“People don’t start out with the idea of getting an eating disorder,” says Merryl Bear, director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) in Toronto.

“Patterns of behaviour around food, exercise and weight management, which start as ways to help structure or manage emotions and time, end up controlling the individual.”

Officials say vanities don’t drive these preoccupations - attempts at self-management and emotional regulation do.

Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders, often with life-threatening consequences.

According to NEDIC, thousands of girls and young women are affected; for those with anorexia, 10 per cent will die within the first 10 years and 20% within 20 years. 

NEDIC officials state eating disorders have a higher mortality rate than any other mental health issue in girls and young women, and 15% of new diagnoses are for boys or men.

Despite what NEDIC refers to as the myth that eating disorders are a “rich white girl’s disease,” they affect males and females of all ages, classes, ethnic backgrounds and abilities. And the whole family is affected when a member has an eating disorder.

“Emotions can run high, and parents and siblings may get caught in a tug of war over everyday needs of each against the pressing needs of the child who is ill,” said Bear.

Across the country this week and later into February, a range of events will be held to raise awareness and help individuals to find healthier ways of coping with their lives.

Individuals looking for help and treatment options can call the NEDIC helpline Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm at 1-866-633-4220.

For information on eating disorders, visit www.nedic.ca.

Help for kids

To coincide with Eating Disorder Awareness Week Kids Help Phone’s website is launching brand new content about eating disorders to help support teens and the people who care about them.

Visitors can find out about different types of eating disorders, learn about some of the reasons why a person may develop an eating disorder, and how young people can get help for themselves or for a friend.

At Kids Help Phone, on an average day in 2012, about three counselling sessions related to eating disorders.

Some studies have shown girls as young as five-years-old have ideas about dieting, and 60% of girls in grades 10 to 12 were dieting.

For more information visit www.kidshelpphone.ca.