Check out our blog for latest news and findings regarding eating disorders, including possible causes and cures, ways to support suffers through their recovery, and stories from survivors about their experiences.

British Parents Advised to be Vigilant Against Youth Eating Disorders

A June 23 article in the Ilford Recorder has warned parents to be on the lookout for symptoms of eating disorders among their children. The problem, the paper reported, is affecting children as young as eight, and is threatening to overwhelm the area's new effort to provide treatment for disordered eaters:
The Community Eating Disorder service at North East London Foundation Trust was officially established in March and bosses have told the Recorder of the high demand already being placed on the service.

Figures show the team, which is not yet fully staffed, had 50 referrals in that time -- 28 for anorexia, 13 for binge eating, eight for bulimia and one overweight person being assessed before having a gastric band fitted.

Ages range from 16 to 51.
Stuart Marks, who manages the Community Eating Disorder service, advised parents to be aware of any changes in their children's diets or attitudes toward eating -- even if those changes appear to be for the better.

"Normally a parent would be delighted to hear their child is developing an interest in healthy eating and taking part in more physical exercise," Mr. Marks told the Reporter."But coupled together with reducing food portions and perhaps skipping lunch, this could develop into an eating disorder."

Labels: eating disorders, prevention

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Pageant Contestant Helps Young Women Overcome Eating Disorders

Beauty pageants are often criticized for promoting unrealistic beauty standards that may prompt young girls to engage in dangerous weight-control measures.

But as Micholyn Fajen reported in the June 5 edition of the Des Moines Register, Katie Petersen's efforts to win the Mrs. Iowa crown may help to overcome the unfortunate association between beauty pageants and eating disorders:
Petersen's platform is building awareness and education of eating disorders, a condition she battled and overcame after seven years. Her mission is to provide a stopgap for women who are overcome by obsessions about size and perfection. ...

"I suffered emotionally and physically," Petersen said. "I'm preparing to turn something negative into a positive by sharing my story with others."
Petersen told the Register that winning the Mrs. Iowa title would allow her to expand her efforts on behalf of women who are suffering from poor self-image and eating disorders. "I want women to know it's OK to stay true to who you are on the inside," she said.

Labels: eating disorders, beauty, prevention

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Family Meals Can Help Prevent Eating Disorders

There has been an increasing body of evidence lately about the benefits of family meals. In general, children who often eat dinner with their families also eat less fast food, drink less pop, and make healthier food choices when they're not with their families. Also, girls who regularly eat dinner with their families are less likely to develop eating disorders.
Researchers are generally unsure exactly how family meals provide all these benefits, [Sarah] Woodruff says. It could be that eating with their families rather than in secret discourages eating disorder behaviours [sic], or that there is a 'carry-over effect' that helps kids make healthier food choices with their friends because of what they learn at home, she says, but no one really knows."
[Source: The Star Phoenix]
Researchers are also puzzled by the fact that positive effects of family dinners seem to be limited almost exclusively to girls. However, many pediatric health experts have long advocated on behalf of increased family involvement as a way of preventing a wide range of dangerous teen behaviors.

Labels: eating disorders, girls, prevention, family meals

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Tips to Help Prevent Childhood Eating Disorders

As the prevalence of eating disorders rises among even very young girls, parents sometimes feel helpless, fearing there is nothing they can do. And while eating disorders are triggered by a combination of things, there are steps parents can take to protect their children:
Throw out your scale and stop weighing yourself. Your child sees everything you do and seeing you weigh yourself has a significant impact on her perception of weight and body& Talk about foods with regard to how they can nourish her body, rather than their effects on her weight. Focus on health, not on calories, fats, or carbohydrates.(Source: PRWeb)
Remember to encourage physical activity for the sake of health, not weight control. The more a parent puts a positive focus on physical health, the less likely a child will be to risk that health.

Labels: eating disorders, children, parents, prevention

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'BLING' can Help Kids Overcome Eating Disorders

"Bling" is a slang used to describe fancy jewelry - real or fake - that is worn by young men and women. In Kansas City, Kansas, the word is also an acronym for a program being used to teach them about eating disorders.
"BLING stands for Building Liberated Insightful Girls. It's a multi-dimensional educational program created for adolescents to work proactively to prevent eating disorders in young girls."
The goal of the program is to teach kids how to respect and appreciate their bodies - no matter their size or shape. It is currently available in several Kansas City school districts. Source: KSHB-TV News (KS)

Labels: awareness, education, prevention

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Parents: Talk to Daughters about Dangers of Eating Disorders

A concerned parent recently wrote in to an online food magazine for advice about her teenage daughter. The daughter seems to have gotten overly concerned about the food she's eating and watches her food intake "very closely," the mother reported. Mom doesn't know what to do, and is looking for some help.
"The first thing you should do is sit down and talk with your daughter. In any intervention regarding an eating disorder, it's important to communicate with the individual you're concerned about... It's important for anyone intervening to remember that these are often delicate situations, and simply sitting down with the individual and expressing concerns and asking questions in a non-judgmental manner is a critical step forward."
The first conversation is important, but follow-up conversations are just as important. Make it known that you will help the person find a counselor or recovery program that will help them overcome their disorder. Source: Culinate.com

Labels: parents, prevention, communication

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Students Learn Different Kind of Lesson

Maude LeClerc, a 14-year-old Florida high school freshman, wanted her fellow students to understand both the prevalence and dangers of eating disorders. So she invited former Miss Florida, Allison Kreiger, in to speak about her non-profit organization H.O.P.E.
"...H.O.P.E., or Helping Other People Eat, [is] a nonprofit organization that works to prevent eating disorders and help pay for treatment for teens who otherwise couldn't afford it."
Kreiger, who struggled with both anorexia and bulimia in high school, founded H.O.P.E. seven years ago; Le Clerc is a junior board member. Krieger estimates that she has spoken to more than 25,000 students since creating the organization. Source: Sun-Sentinel

Labels: awareness, prevention, dangers_of_eating_disorders

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Program Aimed at Reducing Eating Disorders

Scientists at the Oregon Research Institute have developed a program that will help young women resist being influenced by the "ultra-thin" ideal portrayed in the media and fashion industries.
"The eating disorder prevention program, called the Body Project, consists of four one-hour weekly sessions in which participants critique the thin ideal espoused for women in our culture and learn how to challenge current and future pressures to be thin."
The program has not only helped young women overcome societal pressures, but it has also improved body image and reduced eating disorder symptoms among participants. Source: Psych Central News

Labels: media_influences, pressures, prevention

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French Fashion Industry Signs Anorexia Charter

Members of the French fashion industry have signed a government-backed charter aimed at fighting anorexia. The charter asked participants to work toward presenting diverse body images and not publicizing images that promote extreme thinness.
"The nonbinding charter was signed by groups including the French Couture Federation, the French Federation for Women's Pret-a-Porter and the Union of Modeling Agencies, as well as some representatives of advertising and media."
France has had some modeling guidelines since the 1980s, including mandatory medical visits for models under 16 years old. Source: Arizona Star

Labels: media_influences, fashion, prevention

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Family History, Weight Gain May Predict Anorexia Recovery Process

Researchers in Europe have identified five factors that appear to be key predictors of whether someone who's been hospitalized for an eating disorder will have to be rehospitalized during the course of his or her treatment.

"Many individuals with anorexia nervosa require repeated in-patient treatment, and there is evidence that shorter hospital stays and poor weight gain upon leaving the hospital could help drive the need for readmission, Dr. Hans-Christoph Steinhausen of the University of Zurich in Switzerland and colleagues note."

Other indicators included: family history of anorexia, having an alcoholic father, and disordered eating during infancy. Read more at NLM.NIH.gov.

Labels: prevention, genes, predictors

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Fat Phobia Feeding Eating Disorders

There's so much emphasis lately on "fighting obesity" that some doctors and child psychologists worry kids will take the barrage of messages to the extreme and develop eating disorders. Though the goal is to teach kids how to eat healthy, it's possible - according to some experts - that all they're hearing is that "fat is bad".
"The hospital has seen pre-teens and teens who attended school-based obesity prevention program, 'who then decide they're going to be the best kid at not getting fat, who then end up losing so much weight that they put themselves medically at risk,' [Dr. Leora] Pinhas says."
The detrimental effects of these messages are real. Hospitals are now seeing eating disorders in children as young as seven. Read more at Canada.com.

Private high schools, like Mount Bachelor Academy, offer accredited academics and powerful emotional growth programs.

Labels: media_influences, prevention, influences

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Fat Phobia Feeding Eating Disorders

There's so much emphasis lately on "fighting obesity" that some doctors and child psychologists worry kids will take the barrage of messages to the extreme and develop eating disorders. Though the goal is to teach kids how to eat healthy, it's possible - according to some experts - that all they're hearing is that "fat is bad".
"The hospital has seen pre-teens and teens who attended school-based obesity prevention program, 'who then decide they're going to be the best kid at not getting fat, who then end up losing so much weight that they put themselves medically at risk,' [Dr. Leora] Pinhas says."
The detrimental effects of these messages are real. Hospitals are now seeing eating disorders in children as young as seven. Read more at Canada.com.

Private high schools, like Mount Bachelor Academy, offer accredited academics and powerful emotional growth programs.

Labels: media_influences, prevention, influences

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Wales Creating a National Strategy

Currently, in the country of Wales, there are no residential centers available for the treatment of eating disorders. But officials plan to change that and have called for a national strategy aimed at treating and preventing eating disorders.
"While local community provision for sufferers does exist, Ms Jenkins said people who reached a more critical stage of the illness had to go to England for residential care. Work is underway to provide residential spaces for children and young people with mental health problems, at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend."
In addition, the Graham Menzies Foundation has applied for a multi-million dollar grant that would partially fund a residential treatment facility for several years.

Adolescent residential treatment centers like Youth Care and Island View can offer teens a structured environment as get help for their issues and earn academic credits.

Labels: treatment, awareness, prevention

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Family Meal Time Could Help with Eating Disorders

Over the past year, studies have found that regular family meal times are effective in reducing a child's likelihood for drug or alcohol abuse. Now, another study has found that it may also help adolescents who struggle with eating disorders.
"A new study shows family meals do play a large role in promoting healthy eating among girls. University of Minnesota researchers found the routine of sitting with family during a meal could decrease a girl's chances of having an eating disorder or extreme weight control issues."
Not only do family meals give parents the chance to monitor what their children are (or aren't eating), but it also helps the family stay more connected, which typically results in a healthier self-esteem.

All girls schools like the program at New Leaf Academy offer girls a homelike setting. Your daughter attends school and lives with her peers who become her family.

Labels: prevention, meals. family

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German Government Joins the Fight

A new campaign against eating disorders has been launched in Germany, and the government is helping kick things off. The campaign was organized by Alice Schwarzer, founder of the German feminist magazine Emma.
"The government stance comes as data shows an alarming increase in eating disorders, particularly among girls and women in Germany, which some observers have connected with the promotion of the waif-like body ethic in certain sections of the media."
Schwarzer calls the obsession with ultra-thin a "mass psychosis of the West" and criticized Germany for being too slow to respond to the growing crisis.

Labels: media_influences, legislation, prevention

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Perilous Pro-Ana Web Sites

Their existence was long-ago exposed. Parents were warned to take proactive steps, and teens were warned to stay away. Despite that, pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia web sites are as prevalent now as ever, still posing a serious threat to anyone who struggles with - or is at risk of developing - an eating disorder.
"As it survives online and increasingly underground, this movement poses serious public health challenges. As many as 70 percent of adolescent girls seek health information online. Of adolescent girls viewing pro-ana sites, 96 percent reported learning new weight loss or purging techniques; 69 percent of these viewers reported using these weight-reduction strategies."
So what's a parent to do? The strongest recommendation is to install an electronic filtering system that blocks access to specific web sites or content. The less access adolescents have to these sites the better. And if a site's popularity decreases enough, it may go away altogether.

Labels: pro-ana, prevention

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Can Potential for Eating DIsorders be Identified in Children?

The old saying goes that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". That's especially true of serious illnesses like eating disorders. Learning to recognize the signs that a young person may be prone to developing an eating disorder can help avert a potentially deadly condition.

"The researchers [from University College Dublin] went back to look at data from the 2002 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study involving 2,649 children. This showed that 32[percent] of the adolescents were underweight and, of this group, one in 10 'thought they were fat'."

The latter group, which also were more likely to choose a large silhouette as "mirroring" their body image, was identified as being at risk of developing an eating disorder.

This group was also generally more unhappy, more dissatisfied with life and more likely to perceive themselves as 'not good looking'.

Though they're general indicators, they can help identify a young person with self-image issues serious enough to lead to an eating disorder.
 

Labels: diagnosis, awareness, prevention

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Eating in Public

Are teens that are shy or hesitant about eating in public on the path to developing a full-blown eating disorder? Some experts say it's a possibility. Others say that, even if a teen doesn't develop a diagnosable eating disorder, serious health problems like malnutrition can still occur.
"Bernarod Carducci, director of Indiana University Southeast's Shyness Research Institute, calls it the Scarlett O'Hara syndrome. In a famous scene in Gone with the Wind, Scarlett's maid tells her not to eat at a barbeque if she wants to uphold her reputation."
James Mitchell, president of the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, N.D. feels that current national concerns about obesity cause this non-specified eating disorder to go unnoticed. Leslie Lipton, who once struggled with eating in public, cautions that girls need to seek treatment early.

Read more at USAToday.com.

Labels: awareness, prevention, shyness

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Awareness Campaign Launched

The island nation of Malta has launched an eating disorder awareness campaign, in an attempt to promote awareness, prevention and treatment. Called "Taste Freedom", the campaign was launched on September 7th at a breakfast meeting.
"Guest speaker Professor Bob Palmer... tackled the subject from a wider perspective. 'Eating disorders have an "image problem". They are often portrayed as either an exotic rarity afflicting and sometimes killing young women at the threshold of lives that had been full of promise or as the expression of the foolishness of adolescent girls who take to excess the essentially trivial concerns with appearance and slimness that are widespread in our societies. Neither picture is accurate. Eating disorders are neither rare nor trivial."
Medical professionals, nutritionists, counselors, media personalities and student body representatives were all invited to participate in the breakfast.

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Labels: treatment, awareness, prevention

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Obesity Prevention Program Helps Curb Eating Disorders

The obesity prevention program called 5-2-1-Go! emphasizes not only healthy eating, but active living. It urges its middle school participants to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, limit "screen time" (TV or computer) to two hours a day and get at least one hour of physical activity per day. It also appears to reduce tendencies for disordered eating.
"The study showed that almost 4% of middle-school girls receiving only their regular health education began vomiting or abusing laxatives or diet pills, but just 1% of the girls in the 5-2-1-Go! program did so."
The randomized study involved over 1,400 students from 13 Massachusetts middle schools whose exercise and eating habits were tracked for two years.

Labels: exercise, prevention, healthy_eating

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New York Governor Signs Eating Disorder Bill

Just in time for New York's Fashion Week, Gov. Eliot Spitzer has signed into law a bill that can help with the identification and prevention of eating disorders. The focus of the bill is the entertainment industry.
"As a result of the Governor's action, a Child Performers Advisory Board will be created oversee the development of guidelines to ensure that child actors suffering from or at risk for eating disorders are identified and have access to treatment. Appointed by the Commissioner of Labor, along with the Commissioners of Health and Mental Health, board members will also develop educational materials to generate awareness and inform actors and models about eating disorders."
The new legislation also requires that licensing regulations be established for residential treatment centers which serve the needs of people with eating disorders.

Labels: legislation, awareness, prevention

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New York Governor Sign Eating Disorder Bill

Just in time for New York's Fashion Week, Gov. Eliot Spitzer has signed into law a bill that can help with the identification and prevention of eating disorders. The focus of the bill is the entertainment industry.
"As a result of the Governor's action, a Child Performers Advisory Board will be created oversee the development of guidelines to ensure that child actors suffering from or at risk for eating disorders are identified and have access to treatment. Appointed by the Commissioner of Labor, along with the Commissioners of Health and Mental Health, board members will also develop educational materials to generate awareness and inform actors and models about eating disorders."
The new legislation also requires that licensing regulations be established for residential treatment centers which serve the needs of people with eating disorders.

Labels: legislation, awareness, prevention

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New York Takes Strong Steps in Fight against Eating Disorders

Today, the New York State legislature passed two bills that have eating disorder prevention advocates applauding. The bills addressed such issues as eating disorders among child actors, the licensing of residential facilities and the establishment of an advisory council.
"[Lynn] Grefe said that the State decision to create the Child Performers Advisory Board to address concerns surrounding child models and actors for the prevention and identification of eating disorders is much needed."
The Council of Fashion Designers proposed similar guidelines in February but many experts in the field of eating disorders felt the guidelines didn't do enough. Read more at Earthtimes.org.

Looking for a residential treatment center? Island View helps troubled teens with a variety of problems and issues.

Labels: legislation, prevention, child_welfare

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Doctor Tells Parents: Trust Your Instincts to Prevent Eating Disorders in Children

Effective parents are dedicated to avoiding the comments and actions that can “trigger” body image issues and eating disorders in their children. They don’t talk about their own weight. They don’t “diet”, they “stay healthy”, and they set realistic expectations for themselves and others. But it isn’t always enough.

Even avoiding all the traps does not erase the possibility of an eating disorder … The best way to protect your child is to be alert for telltale behavior and move quickly when it’s spotted. Daniel Le Grange, director of the Eating Disorders program at the University of Chicago Medical Center, urges parents to follow their gut instincts. - Source: U.S. News & World Report

In his experience, parents often overlook the signs of an eating disorder, even when they feel like something is wrong. Most of the time, he says, parents are “spot on” in thinking something isn’t right with their kids. Le Grange encourages parents to act on those instincts and get their kids evaluated by a doctor.

Labels: parents, prevention

Posted By: Stefanie Hamilton 2 Comments

ED Survivor Praises Influence of British Awareness Group

A few years ago, Rachel Johnston thought the eating disorder organization B-eat was the enemy. When her mom posted questions to the online forum, Rachel told her she was being brainwashed. What Rachel didn’t realize – or refused to admit – was that she was the one being brainwashed – by an eating disorder that almost killed her.

“Her lowest point was in February 2009, when she decided enough was enough and took a cocktail of sleeping tablets and other drugs. Her weight plummeted for four-and-a-half stone [just over 60 pounds]. But now, more than a year after her last hospital stay, she is looking to the future.” - Source: Warrington (UK) Guardian

Today, Rachel is an ambassador for B-eat and spends her free time educating others about the signs and dangers of eating disorders. She admits that she hasn’t fully recovered yet, but she finally sees light at the end of the tunnel.

Labels: awareness, international, online, prevention

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