The aim of NEDAwareness Week is to increase awareness and education about eating disorders and body image issues for effective recognition, early intervention and direction to care (NEDAwareness.org).
This is something that I am so passionate about and find so important that I want the impact to last greater than one week – I want the awareness to spread, so that anyone with body image issues, disordered eating, and/or eating disorders knows that there are resources out there for them – there are people who are willing to help and there are plenty of people who are going through the same problem – You are not in it alone. You can get help. You can get better.
Now, eating disorders are something that I am very passionate about. Growing up in the dance world, disordered eating and eating disorders were always around me. That is not to say every dancer has an eating disorder, or that dance necessarily causes eating disorders, contrary to popular belief, but they are more prevalent among dancers than in the general population. So for my undergraduate honor’s thesis, in an effort to spread the awareness of eating disorders and educate health professionals (including registered dietitians and physicians) and the general public, I enlisted the help of my friend and videographer, Nick, and we created a documentary. I interviewed college dancers who were affected by disordered eating and/or eating disorders, whether personally or through a friend or family member. To gain a professional perspective on the treatment and physiology behind eating disorders, I also interviewed health professionals who treated individuals with eating disorders – medical doctors, pediatricians, registered dietitians, and licensed counselors. The documentary turned out to be much more than I expected – not only do the brave dancers expose their secrets and feelings about eating disorders, but you gain an overall perspective of the role that the dance world, the media, and society play in the development of disordered eating and eating disorders.
So without further ado, I bring to you:
The Starving Art:
The Prevalence of Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders Among Dancers
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NEDA’s campaign this year is that Everybody knows somebody who has been affected (NEDAwareness.org). So if you know someone who struggles with body image issues, disordered eating, and/or eating disorders, please please please refer to the resources I have listed below. Eating disorders are a very sensitive topic and need to be approached in such a way – remember eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are diseases.
The National Eating Disorder Association has information and resources available on their website and helpline:
NEDA Helpline: 800 931-2237
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