National Eating Disorders Association

NEDAwareness Week 2015 Recap!

Brendan Egan, Communications Intern

This NEDAwareness week was a huge success and we could not have done it without the love and support of all of you out there. Starting with the theme “I Had No Idea” we were able to share our knowledge with the world about the truth of eating disorders and for many people, start the conversation. 

Sunday kicked off our week with how the media affects our views of our bodies in a Google Hangout titled Not Falling For It: How to Challenge Toxic Media Messages about Food, Weight and Body Image. Thank you to our participants, including Pia Guerrero, the Founder and Editor of Adios Barbie as well as the Executive Director of SheHeroes; Allison Epstein, the Managing Editor of Adios Barbie; and Melissa Fabello, the Managing Editor at Everyday Feminism.

We continued our week by speaking out against the stereotyped image of who is affected by eating disorders on Monday. Eating Disorders do not discriminate against race, age, gender, or sexuality. Anyone can be affected. With the help of Dagan VanDemark, Founder/Director of T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders; Gloria Lucas, Nalgona Positivity Pride; Hannah Jackson, PhD; Rajah Jones; and moderated by Sonya Renee Taylor, founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, were able to have successful Google Hangout titled MarginalizED Voices: Speaking Up for Change in Eating Disorders Awareness, Outreach, and Treatment. In addition to this, we had many landmarks around the nation light up the night in our colors, blue and green, as a symbol of the enlightenment this week will bring.

On Tuesday, the topic of the day was the risk associated with athletes and eating disorders. We had a Tweet Chat entitled, Active EDs: What Athletes, Coaches and Trainers Need to Know about Eating Disorders, with Barbara Hansen, LCSW; Kim McCallum, MD, CEDS, FAPA; Riley Nickols, PHD; Kally Fayee, and Dotsie Bausch, where questions about what athletes, coaches, and trainers should know about eating disorders were answered. Later that night, we hosted a panel moderated by Sondra Kronberg, MS, RD, CEDRD, Fouder/Director of Eating Disorder Treatment Collaborative and panelists: Dallas Argueso, BS, CPT; Stacey Rosenfeld, PHD, CGP; Melainie Rogers, MS, RD; Liana Ross, BA; and Jodi Rubin, ACSW, LCSW, CEDS where discussion of how to train clients in a more health-conscious way that do not center around weight or calories as well as other ways that fitness professionals can make positive changes for their clients. We also asked gym-goers to print out and drop of a stack of our information cards for trainers and coaches to help educate the gym staff about warning signs and how direct people to resources.

Wednesday was our day to enlighten the nation of the toll that bullying has on many, and the role it plays in triggering disordered eating. “As many as 65% of people with eating disorders say that bullying contributed to their condition (b-EAT).” Members of Proud2BMe On Campus helped to spread resources on campuses around the country and we hostest a Tweet Chat, Youth Creating Change: Body Positivity and ED AdvocacyWe also featured a Google Hangout, BulliED: Bullying and Eating Disorders, that featured Bailey Webber, a student journalist; Stacy Pershall, Active Minds and Author; Julie Hertzog, Director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center; and Luke Knudsen, Trevor Project Youth Advisory Council. Thank you to all of our participants on this important day.

Did you know that many people affected by disordered eating start as casual dieters? Thursday was our day to expose the risk that our national fixation on weight loss has. About 35% of “normal” dieters find themselves progressing to disordered eating. In a nation that has made $60 billion for the diet industry—an industry that has been found to catalyze eating disorders—we need to stop this cycle. Cristin Runfola, PhD; Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, CGP; and Jenni Schaefer hosted a tweet chat to discuss the issues of dieting and how to identify disordered eating behaviors before they go too far - A Slippery Slope: Identifying Disordered Behaviors Before they Go Too Far.

A common issue that occurs for many suffering from eating disorders is the overlooking or even misdiagnosing of their disorder by doctors. Friday was dedicated to raising awareness in the medical world of eating disorders. Our physicians and medical professionals are a very important part in the education and assistance of individuals who are or may be suffering with an eating disorder or those that are at risk. Unfortunately, many are lacking in their education about the complex nature of these diseases and the range of the behaviors and symptoms that are associated with these diseases. We shared information cards for healthcare providers as well as tasked our members and supporters to ask their provider if they have taken the AMA course on eating disorders. With the help of the Academy of Eating Disorders; Lesley Williams, MD, CEDS; Carolyn Jones, RN, LPC, CEDS, CEDRN; and Edward P Tyson, MD we were able to utilize our twitter hashtag #NEDAwareness once again to host a tweet chat entitled What You Don’t Know Can Hurt… Your Patients: Medical Professionals & Eating DisordersWe als asked interested participants to print out these information cards for healthcare practitioners and drop them off  at the doctor's offices.

Our final day of NEDAwareness week was dedicated to one of the most important support systems that someone with an eating disorder needs—Parents. Many parents will overlook their child’s eating disorder as a choice, a phase, or an attention-seeking behavior. This is an idea that we must change. Parents shared their stories of hope and encouragement of supporting their child through recovery, what helped them most, what advice they would share, and what the best advice they received was. Parents, remember that your children do need you. Deborah Kreiger, the chair of NEDA's Parents, Friends & Family Network, also shared her tips and wisdom in this thoughtful blog. 

This week we exposed a lot of information that many did not know beforehand. We were able to start the conversation around the nation about eating disorders, and hopefully, this will not end. Even though the week has come to a close, and the lights on our landmarks went out, does not mean that the problem is gone. Let us continue to be a supportive society to those in need, and spread the love. Everybody knows somebody. In the US alone, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. Let’s not let them suffer in silence. We couldn't have achieved such success without the help of the more than 150 Partners from all across the nation who supported NEDAwareness Week. To those who participated this week, thank you.


NEDAwareness Week 2015 Outcomes Infographic: