( ENSPIRE Health & Wellness ) Eating Disorder Month Educates Others On The Condition That Affects Millions
ENSPIRE Contributor: Naomi Stamps
Besides Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, February is also known as Eating Disorder Awareness Month. This annual campaign focuses on educating the public on eating disorders, offering support to those affected, and providing access to resources. It’s also recognized as a weekly awareness on February 21-27; emphasizing the importance of this issue. It’s unclear how the monthly awareness began, but Eating Disorder Awareness first started in 1986. 40 people gathered from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom to create the weekly awareness.
Two of the people in attendance included Patti Perry (Co-founder of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre) and Mary Moriarty (Founder of the Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association). Patti stated, “The idea was to increase awareness, to identify people who were struggling and to look at the needs of individuals in terms of treatment, because in 1986 there wasn’t a lot going on [in the Eating Disorder community], or people were just getting started.” The 40 attendees set out to encourage their states and provinces to highlight this campaign. It was a challenging task to convince others of its importance.
By advocating and uniting with other groups across the country, Eating Disorder Awareness Week was finally recognized. The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD) reports that eating disorders affect 28.8 million people. Every 52 minutes, it claims another person’s life (which is alarming). The most common forms of this condition are bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa. While this disorder can affect anyone, some groups most affected are BIPOC, females, and children. ANAD states that 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls aim to be thinner while 10-year-olds have a fear of becoming fat.
It’s unfortunate how this is an issue that many continue to ignore. Besides this, many are bullied by their peers and overwhelmed by toxic messages in the media. Despite what others say, there’s no such thing as a “perfect body.” Our bodies are created differently, and it’s important to embrace ourselves from the inside and out. During this month, dedicate time to learning all you can about eating disorders. Your life and well-being are more important than following the world’s standards.
If you or someone else is affected, please seek help. It doesn’t make you less than and many others are struggling as well. Seeking help is brave and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Learn the side effects, the signs of someone dealing with an eating disorder, and ways to get help.
To get free peer support services and additional information go here.
To learn the side effects, click here.
To learn the signs, click here.