The National Eating Disorder Association has named February as National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Approximately 25 million more are struggling with binge eating disorder (NEDA, 2005). This is a disorder with life and death consequences.
Below are some of the symptoms of Eating Disorders identified by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV-TR):
* A person who refuses to maintain body weight that is at or above the normal weight for the age and height of the individual. This would be measured by weight loss leading to the maintenance of body weight less than 85% of the expected weight gain during the period of growth.
* The person shows an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even if the person is under weight.
* The person has a distorted outlook on their body image.
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, please acknowledge them, confide in someone, and start striving for your best self and your best health. There are many people out there who will help you. If you are a teenager, please tell your parents or other adults that you trust. No matter where you are or how old you are, you may call the NEDA Toll-Free Information and Referral Helpline: (800) 931-2237
Sometimes, it's easier to read about something than talk about it. I highly recommend the following fictional stories that deal in part with eating disorders:
On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover (ballerina protagonist struggles with body image and weight)
Nothing by Robin Friedman (protagonist binges and purges in secret)
Purge by Sarah Darer Littman (protagonist is put in treatment for her bulimia; the book is being released in April 2009)
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (protagonist binges when stressed; secondary plot, not the main plotline)
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (the protagonist's older sister refuses to admit she has an eating disorder; secondary plot, not the main plotline)
For more books about these and other serious matters, visit my Tough Issues for Teens booklist.
I also posted about this matter and reviewed some of these titles over at the SparkLife book blog.
In February 2008, Lorie Ann Grover started a thread at the readergirlz forum about National Eating Disorder Month in hopes that others will share their thoughts and stories. Join us at the readergirlz forum.
Thanks to E. Lockhart for picking up this post.
Contact The National Eating Disorder Association:
603 Stewart St.
Seattle, WA 98101
Business Office: (206) 382-3587
Toll-Free Helpline: (800) 931-2237