Eating Disorders Awareness Week: What you need to know

February 23- March 1 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! To promote awareness and to educate students on the disease, Kate Moran, Registered Dietitian, will host a table at an event in Sherman Dining Hall Tuesday February 25 from 12-2pm. She will be encouraging students to sign a Fat Talk Free commitment and promote healthy image and body weight. Please stop by for information, resources and please bring questions and concerns. If you prefer not to stop at the table, please feel free to contact her privately at 781.736.4397 or [email protected].
 
Below is some important information on eating disorders and why they are important to discuss. 
 
HC: How many people do eating disorders affect?
KM: Eating disorders affect 70 million people worldwide. In the United States alone, as many as 10 million are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That's more than are suffering from breast cancer! Some other shocking statistics include 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. As many as 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or nearly clinical eating disorder, and 33% of college women suffer from disordered eating habits. College for many is the first time living away from your family and friends, leaving your support system behind. It is very important to stay educated on the subject in best interest of your health, and surround yourself with people who care about you.
 
HC: How you know you have an eating disorder?
KM: Typical characteristics of individuals with eating disorders are perfectionism, high achievement, and drive to succeed. Warning signs of an eating disorder include:
• Skipping meals
• Taking only tiny portions and eating very slowly
• Refusal to eat socially
• Eating in ritualistic ways
• Strange food combinations
• Food-preoccupation; including obsession with recipes, shopping, cooking
• Frequent excuses to not eat, not feeling well, already ate, too full, etc.

Classic symptoms of starvation include depression, irritability, insomnia, headaches, constipation, poor concentration and problems with short-term memory.

HC: What should people do if they think they have an eating disorder? 
KM: If you are considering you or someone you know is showing signs of an eating disorder, it is important to encourage them to discuss their condition with their doctor, as early treatment is key. Here are some great resources on how to best help someone: http://www.anad.org/eating-disorders-get-help/how-to-help-a-friend/

HC: Why is important to talk about eating disorders?

KM: Education is always key! Someone may not realize that their eating habits or vision of themself is unhealthy. It's important to know that there are resources available to you! For more information on getting help: http://www.anad.org/eating-disorders-get-help/

My door is always open and the Brandeis Health Center is at your fingertips, if anyone would like to further discuss the topic.
Additional information and resources: