Eating Disorder Prevention: How Can You Be Proactive?
Preventing an eating disorder, like prevention of other self-destructive behaviors, begins with education. Through education and awareness, our society can eventually prevent some occurrences of an eating disorder. Programs focus on preventing disordered eating before it starts and they promote balanced health, body image, and positive self-esteem. Successful programs also educate participants on the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking early treatment intervention is the better the patient’s chances for recovery.
Education is best made available through schools, community organizations, health care centers and social groups.
Though traditionally, we have seen more young women with an eating disorder, they do affect women and men, from childhood through senior citizens. We must avoid stereotyping. An eating disorder is not a cry for attention or an addiction to food. It stems from social, familial, physical and emotional triggers. These issues must be honestly addressed in order to reach recovery for those afflicted and prevention for future generations.
In addition to signs and symptoms of disordered eating, we must also address our culture’s obsession with the thin physique. It has become a moral issue to some and a psychological detriment to people of all ages. Gender bias, the roles of men and women, and social and psychological expectations must be address frankly in the home and through media to debunk unhealthy beliefs.
The development of self-esteem begins at birth. We learn beliefs about food, nutrition, the importance of whole health and body image from our initial surroundings. But with the growth of the technological influence in our daily lives, from our earliest days, we must courageously address the media’s impact on our personal beliefs of self: how we should look, what we should wear, the social status that being thin and beautiful delivers. Until the media gets on board with supporting good health without stressing THIN, the battle must be fought through education in at home, in schools and though the community.