Eating Disorders Affect Women and Men Across All Backgrounds
Harrisburg, PA – Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine met today with survivors and industry leaders as part of Eating Disorder Awareness Week to discuss the support needed by individuals and their families affected by eating disorders, and to recognize professionals who are leading the fight against these life-threatening illnesses.
“Eating disorders are serious conditions that are potentially life-threatening, and have a great impact on all aspects of a person’s health,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The pressure, attitudes and behaviors that cause eating disorders to develop are prevalent in our culture, and it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of eating disorders to help connect those who are suffering with the support they need.”
As part of the commonwealth’s commitment to raising awareness of eating disorders, Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation declaring February 26 through March 4, 2018, as Eating Disorder Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. The purpose of this week is to expand the conversation surrounding eating disorders by including the different perspectives of the millions of people affected by these illnesses.
Eating disorders are serious illnesses and are not lifestyle choices. These illnesses usually appear in adolescence, and are associated with substantial psychological problems, including depression, substance abuse and suicide.
“The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need,” National Eating Disorders Association Director of Programs Lauren Smolar said. “It is estimated that over 500,000 Pennsylvania residents are currently struggling with an eating disorder, which are serious and potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. We are grateful to Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine and the Wolf Administration for their support and leadership in bringing attention to this important issue.”
The warning signs of eating disorders, which are physical, emotional and behavioral in nature, can vary depending on the disorder. Generally, behaviors and attitudes that indicate that weight loss, dieting or control of food are of concern are warning signs.
Many individuals are unaware of the devastating mental and physical consequences of these illnesses, as well as the attitudes and behaviors that shape them. It is important that parents, educators, healthcare providers, and community members are aware of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.
For more information on eating disorders, and other health issues, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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