Eating Disorders Symbol: Here's What It Symbolizes

The most recognizable symbol for eating disorder awareness is the logo for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The eating disorder symbol used by NEDA takes the form of a stylized heart, signifying love and kindness. The fluid lines and amorphous shape of the NEDA logo also evoke the curves and consistent movement of a healthy body and a healthy lifestyle.

Because of the shape of the heart’s outline, the NEDA logo can also be viewed as a woman’s body. This representation of the logo speaks to the disproportionate impact that eating disorders have upon women compared to men. According to NEDA estimates, 10 million men and 20 million women will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

Another important eating disorder symbol is the logo for the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). The ANAD logo is set in the shape of a flowing periwinkle colored ribbon. Like the NEDA eating disorder symbol, the ANAD logo represents awareness and support of all eating disorders. Collectively, both the NEDA and ANAD eating disorder symbols epitomize self-acceptance, recovery, and hope. By upholding these values, organizations like NEDA and ANAD have achieved enormous success in launching preventative eating disorder awareness programs and establishing comprehensive eating disorder treatment facilities.

Interestingly, the eating disorder awareness symbol — and what it represents — appears to have resonated with several high-profile celebrities. In a recent post on Snapchat, Demi Lovato, an American musician, and TV personality revealed that she had personally painted the NEDA eating disorder symbol on her coffee mug.

After speaking openly about her own struggles with bulimia and drug addiction, it’s clear that Demi Lovato understands the important role of symbols in shaping how we, as a society, view and react to people with eating disorders. In fact, in 2012, Demi Lovato actually campaigned for NEDA during their annual eating disorder awareness week.

Since 2012, Demi Lovato has continued to collaborate with NEDA, using her massive social media presence to raise awareness about eating disorders and direct her fans to NEDA resources. We hope that Demi Lovato’s heartfelt gesture will inspire other celebrities to use their fame to spread eating disorder awareness.

If you’re interested in showing your support for the eating disorder symbol, you can purchase eating disorder symbol jewelry or coffee mugs from the NEDA website. At the moment, NEDA’s signature offering is a sterling silver necklace with an inset eating disorder emblem. However, if you’re looking for something more personal or modest, you might prefer a simple eating disorder awareness ribbon.

Sources: Teen Vogue, HuffPost
Photo: Pixabay

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