Preventive Education or Tips on Becoming Sicker?
It's a tricky issue when it comes to considering a presentation to a certain population, such as Middle/High School students or young adults,
about the signs, symptoms and dangers of eating disorders. This population is a very vulnerable one, where
they are already likely searching for their purpose and personal identity. Some may even already
have, or be at the beginning stages of an eating disorder. While there is a sincere effort being made to
warn and educate these people about the negative affects of an eating disorder, it is very easy
for this to become a "teaching lesson" about how to engage in even more eating disorder behavior, without
realizing or being able to understand the real dangers. The lure of losing weight, having control, and
even just being noticed, can sometimes only be enhanced by the information being presented.
It can be especially harmful when specific numbers, such as low weights, low caloric intake, or
amount of time spent over-exercising are mentioned, because there is a factor of competitiveness in eating
disorders that very often becomes a triggering factor.
While there is a need for awareness among this population for factual information for
preventive purposes, it must be approached with caution and the availability for follow-up
consultation for those who may need support.