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Diminishing Stigma With Truth About Eating Disorders


In May of this year, the Academy for Eating Disorders, with input from other eating disorder organizations, published “Nine Truths About Eating Disorders.”

The “Nine Truths” was created to boost public awareness of eating disorders, diminish stigma, and increase patient access to efficacious treatment.

“The single best way to fight stigma is with truths,” said Dr. Cynthia Bulik, Professor of Eating Disorders, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“These consensus “9 Truths” are the new scaffold on which we will build our advocacy efforts for eating disorders. United around these principles, we can enlighten public understanding about eating disorders and advocate effectively for treatment access and resources.”

The list of eating disorder truths is based on a 2014 talk Dr. Bulik presented to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Nine Truths

  1. Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
  2. Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
  3. An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
  4. Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.
  5. Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
  6. Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
  7. Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
  8. Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
  9. Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

“Nine Truths About Eating Disorders” is available online in pdf format (link below).

Sources: Academy for Eating Disorders; Nine Truths pdf
Photo credit: David Goehring