National Eating Disorders Association

Eating disorders are illnesses with a biological basis modified and influenced by emotional and cultural factors. The stigma associated with eating disorders has long kept individuals suffering in silence, inhibited funding for crucial research and created barriers to treatment. Because of insufficient information, the public and professionals fail to recognize the dangerous consequences of eating disorders. While eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, there is help available and recovery is possible.

Eating Disorders Information Index

Whether you’re a girl, boy, woman, man, parent, coach, educator or student we have information for you! You’ll find an entire list of our informational pages below, or for more refined, population-specific information simply look at the menu on the left.

Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Anorexia Nervosa in Males
Anorexia Nervosa is a severe, life-threatening disorder in which the individual refuses to maintain a minimally normal body weight, is intensely afraid of gaining weight, and exhibits a significant distortion in the perception of the shape or size of his body, as well as dissatisfaction with his body shape and size.

Anorexia, Bulimia, & Binge Eating Disorder: What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues.

Athletes and Eating Disorders
In a study of Division 1 NCAA athletes, over one-third of female athletes reported attitudes and symptoms placing them at risk for anorexia nervosa. Though most athletes with eating disorders are female, male athletes are also at risk –especially those competing in sports that tend to place an emphasis on the athlete’s diet, appearance, size, and weight requirements.

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder not otherwise specified and is characterized by recurrent binge eating without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Binge Eating Disorder in Males
Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsive overeating or binge eating. In binge eating disorder, the purging in an attempt to prevent weight gain that is characteristic of bulimia nervosa is absent.

Body Image
Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or picture yourself in your mind.

Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.

Bulimia Nervosa in Males
Bulimia nervosa is a severe, life-threatening disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or other purging methods (e.g. laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercise, fasting) in an attempt to avoid weight gain.

Causes of Eating Disorders
While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food.

Dental Complications of Eating Disorders: Information for Dental Practitioners
The frequent vomiting and nutritional deficiencies that often accompany eating disorders can have severe consequences on one’s oral health. Studies have found that up to 89% of bulimic patients show signs of tooth erosion.

Eating Concerns and Oral Health
Dietary habits can and do play a role in oral health. Everyone has heard from their dentist that eating too much sugar can lead to cavities, but did you know that high intake of acidic “diet” foods can have an equally devastating effect on your teeth?

Eating Disorders Can Be Prevented!
Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional, social, and familial issues, all of which need to be addressed for effective prevention and treatment.

Eating Disorders in Women of Color: Explanations and Implications
Eating disorders do not just affect white, upper-class women. There is still much to learn about how eating disorders affect individuals of all races and further research must be conducted to ensure that our efforts to combat these illnesses are inclusive of all women and men.

Educators: Understanding Your Role
Through their involvement with school-age children, educators have the opportunity to notice weight fluctuations and irregular eating habits.

Educators: Some “Don’ts” for Those Working with Students
There are some detrimental things that educators can do when addressing a child they suspect may have an eating disorder. Some of these include casting a net of awe and wonder around the existence of an eating disorder and oversimplifying that eating disorders are “just a phase”.

Enhancing Male Body Image
Recognize that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no one “right” body size. Your body is not, and should not, be exactly like anyone else’s. Try to see your body as a facet of your uniqueness and individuality.

Every Body is Different
Genetics influence bone structure, body size, shape, and weight differently in every person.

Facts for Activists (or anyone!)

In spite of the unprecedented growth of eating disorders in the past two decades, eating disorders research continues to be under-funded, insurance coverage for treatment is inadequate, and societal pressures to be thin remain rampant.

Fifty Ways to Lose the “3Ds”: Dieting, Drive for Thinness, and Body Dissatisfaction
Individuals involved with youth and adolescents, such as educators, parents, health professionals, and physicians can prevent the further development of issues and concerns regarding weight through their own actions and words of encouragement toward healthful eating practices and attitudes.

Health Consequences of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships.

How to Help a Friend with Eating and Body Image Issues
You cannot force someone to seek help, change their habits, or adjust their attitudes. You will make important progress in honestly sharing your concerns, providing support, and knowing where to go for more information!

Incorporating Diversity in Your Prevention Efforts
Eating disorders affect people of every race, gender and age. When engaging in outreach efforts it is important to take into account the many different individuals and groups that you are trying to reach.

kNOw Dieting: Risks and Reasons to Stop
Americans spend more than $40 billion dollars a year on dieting and diet-related products.

Laxative Abuse: Some Basic Facts
Laxative abuse is serious and dangerous – often resulting in a variety of health complications and sometimes causing life-threatening risks.

Listen to Your Body
Eat what you want, when you are truly hungry. Stop when you’re full. And eat exactly what appeals to you. Do this instead of any diet, and you are unlikely to ever have a weight problem, let alone an eating disorder.
Eat when you are truly hungry. Stop when you are full.

No Weigh!
Signing this declaration of independence from a weight-obsessed world may help you accept your body’s natural shape and size.

Pregnancy & Eating Disorders
Pregnancy and motherhood. Professionals recommend that women with eating disorders do their best to resolve the eating disorder related weight and behavior problems before they attempt to get pregnant.

Questions to Ask When Considering Treatment Options
There are various approaches to eating disorders treatment. It is important to find an option that is most effective for your needs.

Questions to Ask Your Treatment Provider
Once you have chosen a treatment provider, you may want to consider asking these questions in your first meeting.

Research on Males and Eating Disorders
Approximately 10% of eating disordered individuals coming to the attention of mental health professionals are male.

Research Results on Eating Disorders in Diverse Populations

Resources for Activists

Resources for Parents and Family Members

Securing Eating Disorders Treatment: Ammunition for Arguments with Third Parties
Unfortunately, some patients and families frequently have to fight to get the appropriate and necessary treatment for eating disorders. Here are some arguments to use when trying to secure treatment from an insurance provider or another third party.

Sharing with EEEase
When you begin to notice that disordered eating habits are affecting your life, your happiness, and your ability to concentrate, it is important that you talk to somebody about what you’re going through.

In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995).

Strategies for Prevention and Early Intervention of Male Eating Disorders
Eating disorders do not discriminate on the basis of gender. Men can and do develop eating disorders.

Ten “Will-Powers” for Improving Body Image
Taking care of your body and doing things you enjoy will enable you to enjoy a happy, participatory life.

Ten Steps To Positive Body Image
One list cannot automatically tell you how to turn negative body thoughts into positive body image, but it can help you think about new ways of looking more healthfully and happily at yourself and your body. The more you do that, the more likely you are to feel good about who you are and the body you naturally have.

Ten Things Parents Can Do to Prevent Eating Disorders
Examine closely your dreams and goals for your children and other loved ones. Are you over-emphasizing beauty and body shape?

The Media, Body Image, and Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a variety of factors, including physical, psychological, interpersonal, and social issues. Media images that help to create cultural definitions of beauty and attractiveness are often acknowledged as being among those factors contributing to the rise of eating disorders.

Tips for Becoming a Critical Viewer of the Media
One of the ways we can protect our self-esteem and body image from the media’s often narrow definitions of beauty and acceptability is to become a critical viewer of the media messages we are bombarded with each day.

Tips for Coaches: Preventing Eating Disorders in Athletes
10 ways that coaches, trainers, and athletic directors can help keep their athletes healthy and prevent eating disorders.

Tips for Kids on Eating Well and Feeling Good about Yourself
It is no fun to worry all the time about how much you weigh, how much you eat, or whether you are thin. Here are some things you can do.

Treatment of Eating Disorders
The most effective and long-lasting treatment for an eating disorder is some form of psychotherapy or counseling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs. Ideally, this treatment should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severity of the disorder and the patient’s individual problems, needs, and strengths.

Twelve Ideas to Help People with Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays
How can someone with an eating disorder healthfully navigate through the busy holiday season? Here are twelve suggestions that may help.

Twenty Ways to Love Your Body!
Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.

What Can You Do to Help Prevent Eating Disorders?
Be a model of healthy self-esteem and body image. Recognize that others pay attention and learn from the way you talk about yourself and your body. Choose to talk about yourself with respect and appreciation.

What Should I Say? Tips for Talking to a Friend Who May Be Struggling with an Eating Disorder
If you are worried about your friend’s eating behaviors or attitudes, it is important to express your concerns in a loving and supportive way. It is also necessary to discuss your worries early on, rather than waiting until your friend has endured many of the damaging physical and emotional effects of eating disorders.

What’s Going On With Me?
Living in our culture, it’s not surprising if you feel you have to look a certain way to be happy or even healthy. However, the things you are doing to be thin can quickly spin out of control and become a serious life-threatening eating disorder.

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