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National Eating Disorders Association Launches 27th Annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Themed I Had No Idea

Events Planned in Communities Across the Country, Feb. 23 - March 1, Challenge People to 'Get in the Know'

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is launching its 27th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAwareness Week), Feb. 23 - March 1, in an annual campaign to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.

During NEDAwareness Week, thousands of people come together in communities across the country, hosting events to raise awareness about body image and bring national attention to the severity of eating disorders, which are bio-psycho-social illnesses with often devastating - sometimes life-threatening - consequences. While there is hope and recovery is possible - particularly with early intervention - many people suffer from the long-term effects of these illnesses. And many people (including doctors) just don't recognize the signs!

Themed I Had No Idea in 2014, individuals can participate in NEDAwareness week by attending events, conducting outreach in their communities or joining NEDA's planned social media campaign. Some of the many events planned for the week include presentations and health fairs in schools and on college campuses; screenings of informational films; fashion shows featuring men and women of all body types; art shows; Scale-Smashing events (encouraging people to examine their "relationship" with the scale and begin a dialog); The Great Jeans Giveaway (encouraging people to get rid of jeans that don't fit and to "be comfortable in your genes"); and NEDA Walks. Also to help promote NEDAwareness Week, NYC's Empire State Building will again be lit in NEDA's signature green and blue colors the night of Feb. 25 to put a spotlight on the fight against eating disorders.

Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, "What you don't know can hurt you … or someone you love. It is time to get the dialogue going in communities across the country and to educate ourselves to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, which are life-threatening illnesses. But there is hope and there is help, particularly with early intervention."

I had no idea … that you can be too thin … that over-exercising can lead to an eating disorder … that 35% of "normal" dieters progress to pathological dieting …that an eating disorder can kill you or lead to permanent physical damage … that [I, my daughter, son, sister, brother, friend] had a problem.

Research and NEDA program outcomes demonstrate that education and outreach leads to increases in knowledge of resources and help-seeking behavior for those in need of support for an eating disorder.

Concerned for Yourself, a Friend or Family Member?
Free & Anonymous Online Screenings for Eating Disorders at:

NEDA encourages individuals to get the conversation started in every community by pledging to do just one thing to raise awareness and provide critical information on eating disorders and related issues. Everyone can participate by planning and/or getting involved in local NEDAwareness Week events and activities; providing information and resources; and by encouraging community members to model acceptance and celebration of diversity in body shapes and sizes.

What's Happening Virtually Everywhere …

During NEDAwareness Week, NEDA will host free webinars, addressing a variety of issues surrounding eating disorders. Space is limited and participants must pre-register. To sign up, visit:

Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ Community
Tues., Feb. 11, 3:30 - 5 p.m. EST
Chase Banister, MDIV, MSW, LCSW, CEDS

Eating Disorders at and Beyond Mid-Life
Thurs., Feb. 20, 1 - 2:30 p.m. EST
Margo Maine, PhD — Karen Samuels, PhD — Denise Folcik

Neurobiology and Disordered Eating: How Our Brains Guide Our Forks
Tues. Feb. 25, noon - 1:30 p.m. EST
Scott E. Moseman, MD — Leah Graves, RD, LD, FAED

Eating Disorders in African American Communities
Wed., Feb. 26, 3 - 4:30 p.m. EST
Gayle Brooks, MD — Gwen Vann — Benjamin O'Keefe

What's Happening in Your Community During NEDAwareness Week?
Check it Out at:

U.S. Statistics on Eating Disorders

20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) ● Four out of 10 Americans either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder ● By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape ● 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life ● 46% of nine- to 11-year-olds are "sometimes" or "very often" on diets and 82% of their families are "sometimes" or "very often" on diets ● Even among clearly non-overweight girls, over one-third report dieting ● 35% of "normal dieters" progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders ● 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 ● There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930 ●
The rate of development of new cases of eating disorders overall has been increasing since 1950 ● 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old ● The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among non-Hispanic Whites ● It is common for eating disorders to occur with one or more other psychiatric disorders, which can complicate treatment and make recovery more difficult. Among those who suffer from eating disorders, alcohol and other substance abuse disorders are four times more common than in the general populations ● The average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 165 pounds. The average Miss America winner is 5'7" and weighs 121 pounds ● Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women ● For females between 15- and 24-years-old who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the mortality rate associated with the illness is 12 times higher than the death rate of all other causes of death.

10 Signs of an Eating Disorder

1. Drastic weight loss.
2. Preoccupation with counting calories.
3. The need to weigh yourself several times a day.
4. Excessive exercise.
5. Binge eating or purging.
6. Food rituals, like taking tiny bites, skipping food groups or re-arranging food on the plate.
7. Avoiding meals or only wanting to eat alone.
8. Taking laxatives or diuretics.
9. Smoking to curb appetite.
10. Persistent view of yourself as fat that worsens despite weight loss.

Available for Interviews:
• Lynn Grefe, president & CEO of NEDA.

• Doctors, psychologists & other eating disorder treatment specialists throughout the country.

• Recovered eating disorder patients.

• NEDA ambassadors.

About NEDA

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 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

Categories: Exercise and Physical Fitness

Tags: Eating Disorders, NEDA, NEDAWareness

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Vicki Greenleaf
Greenleaf & Associates
Greenleaf & Associates
1994 Lucile Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
United States