Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

What is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

TW: Eating Disorders

Last week beginning on Feb. 27 was Eating Disorders Awareness Week, a national week of programming highlighting eating disorder recovery and education. Run through the non-profit National Eating Disorders Association, EDAW aims to use this week of awareness and national press to educate the public about eating disorders and how we can support those around us who may be struggling. 

The NEDA estimates that in America alone, 28.8 million people of all identities and backgrounds will have an eating disorder during their lives. This number is on the rise in recent years, making it more important than ever to raise awareness for the epidemic of such a serious mental health issue. Too many people suffer from eating disorders without having the resources or means to get the appropriate treatment, not unlike other mental health issues. Eating disorders, however, in their many forms, are especially dangerous because of the acute health consequences that they can cause. The harm that results is so serious that EDs are second only to opioid use disorder for mortality rates of mental health disorders.   

Eating disorders are silent killers – there is more likely than not at least one person in your life who has struggled with an eating disorder at some point, especially on college campuses. Toxic diet and fitness cultures have permeated all corners of society, but college is an especially dangerous place for these norms. From the longstanding joke about gaining the “freshman 15” to the normalized practice of eating less to get drunk faster, college campuses are a breeding ground for disordered eating habits and body image issues. Conversations about food and fitness on college campuses reflect society’s fear of gaining weight, which makes ED awareness important every day of the year. 

The prevalence of eating disorders is a national public health crisis that has also gotten recognition from the White House. President Biden released a statement on Feb. 24 proclaiming the week of Feb. 26 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and encouraging businesses and corporations to show their support. NEDA also organized “Landmark Lightings” for EDAW, and dozens of prominent buildings across the country lit up blue and green to show their support for the cause. While this week is essential for raising awareness about eating disorders and educating the public, eating disorders affect millions of people every day, all year round. Continuing the conversation is essential to helping as many people as possible make a full recovery.  

Buildings across the country lighting up blue and green to show support for EDAW2023

Remember to always check in on your friends and family, because you never know who might be struggling with an eating disorder. For free help all day any day of the year, the SAMHSA National Helpline number is 1-800-662-4357. NEDA also has a free text and call support feature on their website at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Grace Lang

American '25

Grace is a sophomore at American University studying political science and history. She is currently a contributing writer for HCAU based in Washington, DC.