Eating disorders awareness week takes place every year February. It’s a week dedicated to raising awareness and debunking stereotypes around these serious illnesses.
Eating disorders are conditions related to unhealthy and persistent eating behaviours that have a negative impact on someone’s health and well-being. They often affect emotions and the ability to function in important areas of life, and are accompanied by preoccupations with food, body weight and exercise. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder but there are a number of others that someone can experience.
There’s a persistent belief that eating disorders only affect young, white women, but in fact eating disorders can affect anyone, of any age, gender, ethnicity or background, and they do occur in Indigenous communities. There are risks in not addressing these illnesses in communities where they aren’t considered a problem, as individuals suffering may likely to be diagnosed, may not understand what they’re experiencing or know where to seek help.
Eating disorders are not easy things to untangle. It’s important to remember that an eating disorder is not a person’s fault; they develop out of a number of factors—genetic, biochemical, psychological, cultural and environmental. And while they are complicated, it’s also possible to recover from an eating disorder and live a fulfilling and healthy life.
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