Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating.

In the UK around 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. Bulimia is around five times more common than anorexia nervosa and 90% of people with bulimia are female. Due to the difficulty of precisely defining binge eating, it is not clear how widespread the condition is.

Eating disorders usually have underlying causes, risk factors can include:

  • having a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
  • being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
  • being overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job (for example ballet dancers, models or athletes)
  • certain characteristics, for example, having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem or being a perfectionist
  • particular experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
  • difficult relationships with family members or friends
  • stressful situations, for example problems at work, school or university.

Visit NHS inform for information on eating disorders.

For emotional support, talk to trained advisors by calling Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87.