Each June, members of the eating disorder community unite to recognize World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD). People experiencing eating disorders firsthand, along with the friends, families, providers, researchers, and policymakers who support them, rally across the globe around a common goal of understanding, connection, and healing.
We invite you to join us this year. Here are five actions you can take today to support eating disorder awareness, education, and recovery.
Eating disorders are complex, confusing illnesses. Many myths and stereotypes surround them, including the common misconception that they are a choice and only affect thin, young, white cisgender women.
In reality, eating disorders are brain-based illnesses that affect people across all social groups. Over 70 million people worldwide are estimated to be affected, including roughly 30 million in the United States.
To learn more eating disorder facts, check out this “ED 101: Understanding Eating Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery” presentation or podcast episode. Each resource provides a general overview of eating disorder causes, types, warning signs, and treatment options.
To dive deeper into the topic of eating disorders, consider information in support of this year’s WEDAD theme, #Equity4EatingDisorders. The following resources explore eating disorder experiences that differ from the stereotypical narrative:
One of the most powerful tools we have in the collective fight against eating disorders is talking about them. These illnesses are often shrouded in secrecy, shame, and stigma, and open conversation allows us to bring them to light and understanding.
Here are some ways to bring eating disorders into conversation:
If you suspect someone you love may be experiencing an eating disorder, now is the time to talk about that as well. To approach the conversation, ask your loved one whether it is ok to discuss their eating habits (“I’m concerned about your eating. May we discuss how you typically eat and your relationship with food?”). Then ask the following six questions:
In this informal survey, two or more “yes” answers strongly indicate the presence of disordered eating. Encourage your loved one to reach out for a professional assessment. The Emily Program is available seven days a week at 1-888-364-5977.
Legislative advocacy is an action that can bring change at both a local and federal level. Make your stance known on eating disorder issues by joining with an organization like The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC), which advances the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority throughout the United States.
Current policy efforts at the national level include:
To support and stay aware of eating disorders policy initiatives, sign up for the EDC’s text message action alerts. You’ll be notified about easy opportunities to contact your Members of Congress as they arise throughout the year.
There are numerous organizations dedicated to eating disorder prevention, education, and recovery. Consider lending your time as a volunteer or contributing financially to one that benefits those affected by these illnesses.
Among the organizations The Emily Program supports are:
Find additional eating disorder-related organizations here.
If you are in the process of recovering from an eating disorder, the most important action to take this WEDAD is a step in the direction of your own healing. It doesn’t have to be grand and it doesn’t have to be perfect; even a small, imperfect step is progress.
Some powerful steps toward recovery include:
Much like the steps taken in recovery, the actions taken this WEDAD and beyond add up. Each time one of us learns more or speaks out about eating disorders, our collective effort is stronger and our voice is louder.
Eating disorders are fierce illnesses, but together we are fiercer.
Copyright © 2019 - Emily Program. All rights reserved.