What are eating disorders? Eating disorders involve a combination of psychological and physical factors that result in abnormal nutrition patterns. In severe cases, these patterns become life threatening.
There are several classifications of eating disorders including anorexia nervosa (severe restriction for weight loss), bulimia nervosa (bingeing followed by compensatory purging – vomiting, laxatives, etc), binge eating disorder (chronic uncontrollable excessive eating) and orthorexia (not a formal diagnosis, but excessive concern with “healthful eating”), or any combination, to name a few of the more prevalent types. Excessive exercise is also recognized in conjunction with disordered eating patterns.
Facts from the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA):
- Risk factors include a family history of eating disorder or mental health condition, a history of or current dieting, perfectionist behaviors, anxiety disorder, body image dissatisfaction, history of trauma, desire to achieve societally decided “body ideal,” environmental weight stigma (weight discrimination), and others.
- Eating disorders present the HIGHEST MORTALITY RATE of psychiatric conditions due to profound effects on physiological health. In those with anorexia, 20% of deaths are by suicide.
- Disordered eating patterns are almost as common in MALES as females, with hospitalizations due to these behaviors increasing in recent decades.
- Among those seeking weight loss treatment, 30% exhibit binge eating disorder symptoms.
- In high school and collegiate athletes, both males and females exhibited disordered eating patterns, particularly in weight class/aesthetic sports, at approximately 30% and 60% respectively, also increasing predisposition for eating disorders in adulthood. Those affected high school females were twice as likely to develop injury in general, eight times as likely in weight class sports specifically.
To learn more, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
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Eating Disorder Awareness