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Learn more about the results we get at Within

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Eating disorder awareness

Eating disorders are believed to affect at least nine percent of the population worldwide, with an estimated 29 million Americans suffering from an eating disorder in their lifetime.1

While previously it was believed that eating disorders were Western conditions experienced by young, wealthy, White women, we now know they can affect anyone. Eating disorders impact individuals of all ages, races, cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses, regardless of their sexual or gender identity.2

These beliefs around who is affected by eating disorders and other misconceptions and stigmas about eating disorders still exist, which can prevent a person with symptoms from seeking help or believing they are ill enough to need treatment. This is why eating disorder awareness is so important.

 minute read
Last updated on 
February 5, 2024
Eating disorder awareness
In this article
eating disorder statistics graphic

Why is eating disorder awareness important?

With stereotypes and distorted images portrayed by the media, it can be challenging to understand what eating disorders are. Therefore, being educated about the different types of disorders and possible eating disorder characteristics can be beneficial in increasing awareness of these complicated conditions.

Increasing awareness can lead to preventing eating disorders, early intervention, and early treatment. Plus, being better informed about eating disorders can increase empathy for those struggling while decreasing the stigma often common with these mental illnesses.

Common eating disorders include:

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

When people have a problematic relationship with food, exercise, body image, and appearance, their shame can stop them from getting the help they need. 

Each year, during the last week of February, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) aims to increase awareness of eating disorders, educate the public about what signs and symptoms to look for, and identify resources and how to find help through Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Each year features a different theme to prompt conversation and promote the importance of getting help when an eating disorder is suspected.

when is eating disorder awareness week graphic

How can you support National Eating Disorders Awareness Week?

Whether you have experience with eating disorders (firsthand or otherwise) or haven't been directly impacted by them, there are several ways you can support National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Educate yourself

You can be an ally by informing yourself about eating disorders, such as the causes and associated behaviors, treatment options, and consequences on physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are complex mental health disorders. How they present varies depending on the type of eating disorder, the severity of the symptoms, and a person's circumstances. The better informed you are, the better equipped you are to support someone without judgment or preconceptions.

Our team at Within Health is here to help with all of your eating disorder treatment and recovery needs. Reach out to our care team to learn more about our virtual care program for eating disorders. You are not alone in this, and support is within reach

Share your experiences

If you have any experience with an eating disorder–whether you've struggled with one or know someone who has–consider sharing your experiences so others can learn more. This can help open up discussions about something notoriously difficult to talk about. 

You can share your experiences online on discussion forums, social media, or video-sharing sites. Every shared story will help increase awareness and help those suffering realize they're not alone and that there is hope. 

Join other advocacy groups

There are many dedicated groups out there that promote eating disorder awareness, prevention, and treatment, working toward positive change. As well as NEDA, they include:

  • Project Heal: Provides grant funding for people with eating disorders who can't afford treatment, as well as promote body positivity.
  • F.E.A.S.T: Provides information and support to families, promotes evidence-based treatment, and advocates for research and education.
  • Eating Disorders Coalition: Focuses on informing and influencing federal policies on eating disorders, holding two congressional briefings a year to increase awareness of eating disorders as a policy issue.
  • Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness: Provides programs and activities aimed at education, outreach, and early intervention for eating disorders.

Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.

Disclaimer about weight loss drugs: Within does not endorse the use of any weight loss drug or behavior and seeks to provide education on the insidious nature of diet culture. We understand the complex nature of disordered eating and eating disorders and strongly encourage anyone engaging in these behaviors to reach out for help as soon as possible. No statement should be taken as healthcare advice. All healthcare decisions should be made with your individual healthcare provider.


  1. Eating Disorder Statistics. (2022, June 8). National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  2. Eating Disorders. (n.d.). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved October 13, 2023.


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Further reading

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