As we noted previously, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  One of the objectives of this week of observance is to educate the public about what can be done to help reduce this significant problem.

The National Eating Disorders Association recommends three simple ways to take action.  In summary, they are:

1.Pay attention to the words you say.  We think we are giving compliments when we say such things as, “Have you lost weight?  You look great!”  But we may be giving the message that eating less = lookingHurtful language is also a no-no.  Calling someone “fat” or using other demeaning terminology can influence an unhealthy sense of body image in the recipient.  Let’s get away from associating people’s worth with their appearance!

 2.Learn the signs of an eating disorder.  Does someone you know seem to be showing significant changes in eating habits or workout schedules, such as eating much less and working out for hours each day?  Does the individual seem anxious or depressed frequently?  Does he or she tend to avoid eating around others or disappear right after a meal?  What about large weight gain or loss in a short period of time?  Signs such as these can be an indication of a possible eatingIf so, don’t be afraid to follow the last step, below

 3.Offer assistance.  If you suspect that a friend, family member, colleague, or classmate may be suffering from an eating disorder, reach out and speakLet him or her know your concern and offer encouragement and support.  Suggest campus or community help through counseling or a hotline, such as 1-800-273-TALK.  Don’t bury your head in the sand if you care.

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