Yesterday, I shared with you a link to a game in which you could learn facts about eating disorders. Today, I wanted to share just a short blurb from the website of the National Eating Disorders Association. In my years of recovery from Binge-Eating Disorder, I’ve met many people who’ve said well-intentioned things to me such as “You don’t look like you had Binge-Eating Disorder” or “You’re not overweight. How could you have been a binge-eater?” The truth is, as you’ll read below, disordered eating doesn’t look like anything in particular, though we’ve been conditioned to think that fat people must have binge-eating disorder (or “a problem” at the very least) and really thin people must be anorexic. Please read below to increase your knowledge and pass the information on to a friend.
There are many stereotypes about what a person with an eating disorder looks like, but the truth is that these illnesses do not discriminate. Men and women of all ethnic backgrounds, ages, sizes, and sexualities are susceptible to poor body image and disordered eating. While women are more commonly affected by eating disorders, 10 million men and boys will battle some form of the illness at some point in their lifetime and, due in large part to stereotypes and cultural bias, males are much less likely to seek treatment for their eating disorder.
Similarly, the National Comorbidity Survey Replication found no difference in eating disorder prevalence among adults across racial and ethnic groups (Hudson, Hiripi, et al. 2007). Yet minorities are significantly less likely to receive help for their eating issues. And despite the damaging assumptions that eating disorders are a “teenager’s problem,” recent research shows that rates of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction among older populations are on the rise. Research also suggests that eating disorders disproportionately impact some segments of LGBT populations. In addition to experiencing unique contributing factors, LGBT people may also face challenges for accessing treatment and support due to discrimination (Feldman & Meyer, 2007).