Mark your calendars! National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW) is happening February 22-28. According to NEDA’s website, “The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.”
This year’s theme, Every Body Has a Seat at the Table, is focused on bringing awareness to how eating disorders and body image issues affect individuals in marginalized communities, inviting everyone to join in the conversation and challenge the systemic biases that are seen in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. Eating disorders and other body image issues can affect different communities in different ways. When discussing the effects of eating disorders, the conversation has historically been centered on white, cis, heterosexual females. However, individuals that fall outside of this demographic can be impacted as well. Below are some facts and statistics about how eating disorders and body image issues impact other groups of individuals.
- Despite the assumption that eating disorders primarily affect females, one in three struggling with an eating disorder is male.
- 42 percent of males with an eating disorder identify as gay.
- Females identified as lesbian, bisexual, or mostly heterosexual are about twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to report binge-eating at least once per month in the last year.
- Black teenagers are 50 percent more likely than white teenagers to exhibit bulimic behavior, such as binging and purging (Goeree, Sovinsky, & Iorio, 2011).
- 48.1 percent of Native American adolescents reported attempting weight loss (Kilpatrick, Ohannessian, & Bartholomew, 1999).
- People of color were significantly less likely than white participants to have been asked by a doctor about eating disorder symptoms (Becker, 2003).
- Trans youth are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders.
- As much as 20 percent of people with eating disorders have autism (Wentz et al., 2005).
It’s clear to see that eating disorders can affect anyone, so everybody needs to be a part of the conversation. If you or someone you know needs additional assistance, NEDA offers a free screening tool, as well as a helpline. To continue the conversation, consider participating in The Body Project or More Than Muscles programs offered through Student Counseling Services. These workshops help students develop and maintain a positive body image and are scientifically supported eating disorder prevention programs.
For more information on National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and how you can get involved, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness.