United States Senate Officially Declares Feb. 26 – Mar. 4 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the U.S.

Eating Disorders Activists Receive Trailblazing Congressional Support 

United States Senate Officially Declares Feb. 26 – Mar. 4 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the U.S.

NEW YORK CITY — March 2, 2018 — For Immediate Release — In countrywide recognition of the need for research, prevention programs and treatment options for the 30 million Americans who will experience an eating disorder, the United States Senate has passed Senate Resolution 419, officially designating Feb. 26 – March 4 National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week) for the first time.

Hosted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), NEDAwareness Week has been observed during the final week of February for more than 30 years. Themed Let’s Get Real in 2018, NEDAwareness Week is an annual public health campaign that brings attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families when thousands of people come together in communities across the country, hosting events to raise awareness about body image; encouraging people to take an online screening to see if it’s time to get help; and opening the dialogue to break down stigma and stereotypes.

Welcomed with bipartisan support, the resolution was introduced by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Commented Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA, “One of the primary goals of NEDAwareness Week has always been to raise awareness about eating disorders and bring the dialog into the mainstream conversation. Clearly, this landmark recognition is a huge step in that goal and NEDA thanks Senators Capito and Baldwin for their leadership in bringing these problems into the open as we continue to work towards our vision of a world without eating disorders.”

Said Senator Baldwin, “”Too many Americans struggle with eating disorders and access to needed care. We have made important bipartisan progress to improve health insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment, but there is still to more work to do to raise awareness and increase prevention, support and education for this devastating disease. I am proud to continue my bipartisan partnership with Senator Capito to continue to fight for the millions of Americans and the 192,000 Wisconsinites who are struggling with an eating disorder.”

In addition to this groundbreaking nation-wide legislation, state level declarations have also been introduced in Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming, as well as in the city of Minneapolis.  

Says Mysko, “Stereotypes and clinical labels often prevent people from reaching out when they have a problem. It’s time to get real about the fact that eating disorders affect everyone—regardless of age, gender, race, size or socio-economic status. We all have stories to tell and our experiences are important and valid. Together, we can tackle our struggles with food, body image and mental health, no matter what form they take.”

Our culture has complicated relationships with food, exercise and appearance. Thirty million Americans will struggle with a full-blown eating disorder at some point. Millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives. And almost everyone can relate to experiencing difficult emotions and having trouble loving what they see in the mirror. 

But because of stigma and old stereotypes, many have a hard time talking about these issues and reaching out for help. The goal of NEDAwareness Week 2018 is to bust myths, elevate marginalized voices and reach those in need with appropriate support and resources.

Think you or someone you know may need help?

Appropriate for ages 13 and up, NEDA’s confidential screening – which takes just minutes to complete – can help answer your questions and, if needed, direct you to treatment options in your area: www.NationalEatingDisorders.Org/Screening

Learn more about NEDAwareness Week:  www.NEDAwareness.org

Join the Conversation: #NEDAwareness

What’s Happening in Your Community?

Individuals can participate in NEDAwareness Week by attending events and conducting outreach in their community. Want to know what events are already scheduled locally or plan an event yourself?  Visit us online.

Lighting the Way …

From New York’s Empire State Building in the east to Los Angeles International Airport’s stylish, 100-foot, glass pylons in the west, dozens of iconic landmarks in cities across the country will once again be lit in the signature blue and green colors of NEDA to put a spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders. [See separate press release for list of locations.]

What’s Happening Virtually Everywhere …

During NEDAwareness Week, NEDA will share videos, host Twitter chats and curate user-generated content, which will address a variety of issues surrounding body image, food issues, exercise and eating disorders. Follow #NEDAwareness for the latest news and updates. 

Did you know?

  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to disordered eating. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
  • Males represent 25% of individuals with anorexia and bulimia and 36% of those with binge eating disorder.
  • The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among Non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians in the U.S.  However, people of color are significantly less likely to receive help for their eating issues.
  • One study found that 35% of female and 10% of male college athletes were at risk for anorexia nervosa and 58% of female and 38% of male college athletes were at risk for bulimia nervosa.
  • Most individuals with eating disorders also meet the criteria for other psychiatric disorders, such as OCD, depression and anxiety.
  • 38 to 44% of women with bulimia also suffer from PTSD, frequently a result of abuse, sexual harassment and other life-altering trauma.
  • 40% of overweight girls and 37% of overweight boys are teased about their weight by peers and family members. As many as 65% of people with eating disorders say bullying contributed to their condition.
  • Up to 35% of individuals with a history of substance abuse have also had an eating disorder, a rate 11 times higher than the general population.
  • 46% of 9-to 11-year-olds and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives. 

Nine truths about eating disorders* …

Truth #1:  Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2:  Families are not to blame and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3:  An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4:  Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth #6:  Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.

Truth #7:  Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.

Truth #8:  Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth #9:  Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

*Produced in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED and the Academy for Eating Disorders, along with other major eating disorder organizations.


Editorial ideas …

  • Interviews with Claire Mysko, CEO of NEDA/medical experts/people in recovery
  • Interview subjects available in most regions [Stats available by state]
  • EDs among marginalized communities and other populations: ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, athletes, military members and in middle age
  • Men & EDs
  • EDs and co-existing conditions
  • The impact of social media on disordered eating
  • How to talk to your child
  • Healthful eating:  When does “calorie counting” or “clean eating” (orthorexia) go too far?
  • Moms, pregnancy and EDs

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, 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 many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. 


For more information or treatment options, visit www.MyNEDA.org

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call  ANAD’s Helpline at: (888) 375-7767 or

the National Alliance of Eating Disorders Helpline at: (866) 662-1235.

If you are thinking about suicide, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

In crisis situations, text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer from the Crisis Text Line.

In a crisis? Text NEDA to 741741

24 hours a day/seven days a week


Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800 

Vicki Greenleaf — [email protected]  


Join the Conversation …

Learn more at: www.nedawareness.org 

Follow #NEDAwareness 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/NationalEatingDisordersAssociation

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/NEDAstaff 

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/nedastaff