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It’s Time to Talk About It! Proclaims National Eating Disorders Association During 24th Annual NEDAwareness Week, Feb. 20-26

01-28-2011 01:29 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: National Eating Disorders Association

/ PR Agency: Greenleaf & Associates
The 24th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is Feb. 20-26 and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is once again waging war against eating disorders (EDs) and unrealistic “body-perfect” ideals – as well as fighting for more research, support and access to treatment for these life-threatening illnesses.

With the theme It’s Time to Talk About It, NEDAwareness Week is the non-profit group’s largest national outreach campaign to raise consciousness about the seriousness of these illnesses. Through NEDAwareness Week, the group seeks to educate the public on signs and symptoms of eating disorders and encourage people to get help. The goal is also to spread a message of hope: Help is available, recovery is possible and those affected are not alone in their struggle! NEDA also challenges unrealistic, unhealthy body size expectations, diets and fat talk to reduce disordered eating and ultimately EDs.

Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, commented, “Today’s pressure cooker of ‘the thin ideal’ versus obesity is creating our own kind of body mass confusion. Speaking out is more critical now than ever before. We should be measured by the size of our hearts, not our hips. Together, as a society, we should focus on health instead of beauty. We have a lot to talk about and this rich conversation can help save lives by bringing healthy common sense to the forefront.

“NEDA’s recent national survey results show that our efforts to talk about eating disorders are making a difference,” Grefe continues. “And the sooner people are able to talk about their illnesses, the sooner we can get those people the help they need. Family, friends and co-workers must all be aware, communicative and a part of the process by being supportive. Recovery really is possible. And our efforts today will help ensure that appropriate treatment is available and research is underway to prevent these illnesses for generations to come.”

Newly Released Studies Show …

COLLEGIATE STUDY: An opt-in study released today of colleges and universities – a demographic highly affected by EDs – collected data from health providers and educators on 144 campuses in 39 states. The study is an effort to identify what services and programs are available on college campuses around the country for students struggling with, recovering from or at risk of developing eating disorders. NEDA is utilizing the information garnered from the poll to expand the information and support services it offers to campuses, students and parents.

Of the respondents, 85% identified their greatest challenge as a lack of resources, including limited funding and no staff clinically trained to deal with EDs. Nearly 74% of respondents indicated their school does not have eating disorders screening or referrals by their collegiate athletic department, but 70% ranked this as very or extremely important. Only 2.5% indicated their school has year-round prevention and education programs for athletes in high-risk sports such as gymnastics, wrestling and swimming. Nearly 66% of the responding schools do hold NEDAwareness Week activities on campus each year; almost 47% sponsor programs/workshops about EDs and body image at least once per semester; and nearly 18% offer such services weekly or monthly.

GENERAL POPULATION STUDY: NEDA’s recently released survey of the general population, conducted by American Viewpoint, indicates that a substantial number of people (57%) are fairly well educated on EDs; 25% of those people know someone who has suffered from one; 9% of them know someone who has died; and 78% feel they have enough information to know if someone is suffering from an ED. In a positive upswing regarding societal attitudes, 82% believe that EDs are a mental or physical illness; 59% believe that heredity is a factor; and 95% say they would seek help or encourage a friend to seek help. Regarding external influencers, 66% feel magazine and television advertising has a negative impact on body image; 44% also holds the fashion industry responsible; and 93% believe a positive image about your own body is a key first step.

Read the full report at: nationaleatingdisorders.org/uploads/file/NEDA_Survey_Whitepaper.pdf

NEDAwareness Week 2011 is already generating interest nationwide, with volunteers coordinating events throughout the country using their local media muscle to spread the word about eating disorders. During this week, hundreds of events will be held in communities coast to coast, offering an opportunity for people to gather information and learn how to support those with eating disorders. Opportunities are still available to distribute materials, purchase kits or to register to “do just one thing” to support this national movement.

Among the events planned: Seminars and workshops, film festivals, health fairs and screenings, NEDA Walks, candlelight vigils, fundraisers, artistic performances and Great Jeans Giveaways – to encourage people to get rid of jeans that don’t fit and to buy jeans that fit the real person.

For additional information on NEDAwareness Week, ideas about what you can do to help make a difference, statistics on EDs or to purchase pamphlets and other materials, visit: NationalEatingDisorders.org

For a list of events being held in communities across the nation during NEDAwareness Week: nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/nedawareness-week-search.php

Adds Grefe, “You can make a difference. Do just one thing to initiate awareness, education and discussion about eating disorders in your community. Invite a NEDAwareness Week volunteer speaker to your school, work or social group. Distribute NEDAwareness Week posters, pamphlets and handouts. Write a letter to praise advertising promoting positive body image or to protest an ad promoting negative body image. Tweet about eating disorders. Put up a link to the NEDA website and Helpline. If we all do something, we’ll have a huge impact!”

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in Seattle, Wash., is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit NationalEatingDisorders.org.

For Treatment Referrals, Visit NationalEatingDisorders.org
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (PST)

Non-profit organization helps garner awareness and support for those battling an eating disorder.

National Eating Disorders Association
603 Stewart Street, Suite 803
Seattle, WA 98101

Press contact: Greenleaf & Associates
Vicki Greenleaf & Karen Brundage
323-660-5800

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