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NEDAwareness Week Helps Start the Discussion About Teen Girls and Body Image

Now is the time to talk to your daughter about teen girls and body image issues. As this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, you now have a reason to learn about body image concerns effecting your daughter and start a discussion to bring awareness and possibly identify troubling behaviors.

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Image sourced from http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Eliminate the excuses

Individuals and families going through treatment for eating disorders often share the same experiences of obliviousness and shock. “I had no idea my daughter was struggling with this” or “I don’t know when it turned from just exercising and dieting to an eating disorder” are common feelings shared among those seeking treatment. During the week of February 23 to March 1, the National Eating Disorders Association will be raising awareness of eating disorders by focusing on “the importance of early intervention and recognizing the diverse experiences of people personally affected by disordered eating.”

NEDAwareness Week provides a chance to:

  • Raise awareness to the impact of an eating disorder
  • Learn more about eating disorders
  • Encourage individuals towards help-seeking behaviors
  • Start a discussion with loved ones who may be struggling

This year’s theme for NEDAwareness Week is “I had no idea”

Many people have no idea what classifies an eating disorder, what the warning signs are or when to seek help. This year’s theme revolves around educating more people to detect earlier and treat those involved in disordered eating. By bringing more awareness to teen girls and body image issues, we can get girls the help they need sooner and even decrease the likelihood of eating disorders.

So, let’s start this week off. Did you have any idea?

  • 30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime
  • 35-57 percent of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills or laxatives
  • Though 2.2 million people suffer from schizophrenia, the National Institute of Health designates over $250 million annually towards research. Eating disorders affect 30 million people, yet only receive $34 million for research
  • Eating disorders affect all kinds of people and don’t discriminate by race, age, sex, age or size

To learn more about eating disorders, check out NEDAwareness Week’s website.

NEDAwarness Week at a glance

Each day this week, NEDA is focusing on bringing awareness to various individuals impacted by eating disorders or issues that impact the likelihood of eating disorders.

Sunday, February 22, 2015: Media Literacy Day – identifying the unrealistic body images protrayed by the media
Monday, February 23, 2015: Marginalized Voices – there is no stereotype when it comes to eating disorders
Tuesday, February 24, 2015: Athletes and Eating Disorders
Wednesday, February 25, 2014: Youth/Bullying – 65 percent of eating disorders are, at least in part, caused by bullying
Thursday, February 26, 2015: Dieting and Eating Disorders
Friday, February 27, 2015: Medical Professionals
Saturday, February 28, 2015: Parents

To find out how to get involved each day through social media, podcasts and information handouts, visit the NEDAwareness Week website.

“The bottom line is that most Americans have no idea that eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, are not lifestyle choices, but rather biologically-based illnesses that often run in families.” – Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association

Eating disorders control the mind

One misconception about eating disorders is that if you force the person to eat more, exercise less or to not binge, there will no longer be a problem. Eating disorders cause biological, psychological and social hardships for the individual, which require specialized treatment to recover. Eating disorders are not just a phase of attention-seeking behavior and they definitely not a choice.

Start the discussion: teen girls and body image

What better time to talk to your daughter about teen girls and body image? Even if your daughter is not struggling with an eating disorder, it is likely she has reservations about the way she looks. Talking to her now can help increase her self-esteem and prevent future cases of eating disorders. As a helpful resource, you can even take a free online screening to determine personal risk of eating disorders and have your daughter do the same. You can find the free, anonymous screening on the NEDAwareness website or at www.MyBodyScreeing.org.

Help raise awareness of eating disorders. Start the discussion today.

For more resources about teen girls and body image issues, visit the National Eating Disorder Awareness website or read more articles here.

AUTHOR: Kathryn Huffman
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