Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 1-Feb 7)

“Eating disorders are as diverse as the people they affect” (NEDIC, 2016). According to 2002 surveys, 1.5% of Canadian women between the ages of 15 and 24 years had suffered from an eating disorder, and 4% of males aged 13-15 admitted to anabolic steroid use. Given the technological revolution that has occurred since then, preoccupation on self-image has skyrocketed. Social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, have for a while now been negatively twisted to drastically lower self-esteem. While they are very much still enjoyable, they can be especially devastating for young individuals who have had social constructs of beauty thrust upon them at ages when they’ve yet to even develop an identity for themselves. It’s through this that some eating disorders can form.

Eating disorders can range from the well-known anorexia and bulimia to nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder, compulsive exercising, and orthorexia. They affect individuals of all genders, nationalities, and ages. They are just as valid as any other mental disorder, and are just as difficult to battle against.

February 1st to 7th marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week, hosted annually by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). Throughout this week, this non-profit Canadian organization seeks to raise awareness of eating disorders and promote the message that “eating disorders can and do affect anyone.” NEDIC knows that talking has the potential to save lies, and so it’s important that if you’re able, you join the cause! NEDIC asks that we keep the conversation going, this week and whenever else we can. Reach out through social media and help raise understanding and awareness of eating disorders in your community.

In addition to talking about it online, the Hopewell Eating Disorders Support Centre in Ottawa will be hosting a Twitter Scavenger Hunt that will take place throughout the week that you can join to not only take part in the cause, but also for a chance to win prizes! Hopewell will also be hosting Lunchtime podcasts on topics of concern regarding eating disorders. See their website for more details. 

Self-esteem has no weight, and if you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder or are even showing signs of one of the many, you can look to to give and get help. If you’re not suffering from an eating disorder, but want to do your part besides talking about it, read the personal stories that brave souls have shared.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – mental illness affects us all directly and/or indirectly. It’s likely that one of the eating disorders I mentioned above in this article you are unaware of, so do your part by educating yourself and others. Keep the conversation going!


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