10 signs of an eating disorder
The statistics are staggering: By age 6, girls start to express concerns about their own weight or shape. Forty-six percent of 9- to 11-year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets. The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. The average Miss America winner is 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 121 pounds.
These statistics, from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), highlight the severity of eating disorders. And the condition does not discriminate. It affects minorities, men, children, athletes and everyone in between. One of the best hopes for help with this condition is by raising awareness.
By making people aware of the condition, we can all learn what signs to look for and how to help.
Here are 10 signs of an eating disorder:
- Drastic weight loss
- Preoccupation with counting calories
- The need to weigh yourself several times a day
- Excessive exercise
- Binge eating or purging
- Food rituals, like taking tiny bites, skipping food groups or rearranging food on the plate
- Avoiding meals or only wanting to eat alone
- Taking laxatives or diuretic
- Smoking to curb appetite
- A persistent view of yourself as fat that worsens despite weight loss
If you or someone you knows exhibit one or more of these signs, it does not always mean you definitely have an eating disorder. However, it may be a hint that you do not have a healthy relationship with food.
“Eating disorders can become life-threatening, and each of us knows someone affected,” said Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, in a statement. “Early diagnosis and intervention is key. And if you do know someone, reaching out and getting people to treatment quickly could spare financial, physical and emotional hardship.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.