February 22 to 28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. We'll be sharing information about this important issue throughout the week, from what to do if you or a friend is suffering from an eating disorder to how to love your body just the way it is! Be sure to check out all of our content here.
Each year, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) hosts National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This year's theme—"I Had No Idea"—focuses on educating the public on the many roots of the problem. The goal of theweek is to "to put the spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders and to improve public understanding of their causes," according to the NEDA website.
There are so many ways to join the fight against eating disorders. Anyone and everyone can (and should) get involved with #NEDAwareness Week. Here are a few ways that you can be a part of NEDA's fight on your campus.
1. Join a NEDA Walk
Wherever you are currently located, chances are that there is a physical NEDA Walk happening somewhere near you in the next week—you can find the schedule of this year's walks here. But even if you can't participate in a physical NEDA Walk, you can join the "virtual walk" toward ending eating disorders by promoting #NEDAwareness on Facebook and Twitter.
2. Make a donation
If you have any cash to spare, NEDA could always use financial donations to support the work that the association does throughout the year. A donation of $25 supports its internship and volunteer program, a donation of $50 sends Educator Packets and Toolkits to two schools, and a donation of $100 supports one educational webinar. If you gather a few friends and pool your cash, you could really make a difference in the fight against eating disorders. You can make a donation of any amount, large or small, here.
3. Wear crazy socks!
All you have to do to join NEDA's "Sock It To Eating Disorders" campaign is put on the craziest, most colorful socks you can find, and get as many people as you know to do the same thing. Then, host a fundraising event sometime during #NEDAwareness Week and get everyone to wear their fun socks in solidarity against eating disorders! Donate your proceeds to any eating disorder charity or foundation—any amount is appreciated and welcome.
4. Host a movie screening
Whether you're just gathering your roommates to watch a movie together or you want to host a screening in an auditorium on your campus, NEDA has a huge list of films to use for these screenings that address the issues surrounding eating disorders. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure that your screening is a smashing success, and that your efforts to raise awareness about eating disorders don't go unnoticed.
5. Get educated
There is so much to learn about eating disorders. For instance, did you know that, according to NEDA, an estimated 20 million U.S. women and 10 million U.S. men will deal with "clinically significant" eating disorders at some point in their lives? Or that one out of five people with anorexia eventually dies from causes related to the disease? Or that 95 percent of Americans with eating disorders are between ages 12 and 25 years old? If we don't educate ourselves about the symptoms and warning signs of eating disorders, it's hard to combat the issue at all. Learning is the first step to making a difference.
Regardless of how you relate to eating disorders (or whether you do at all), working to prevent them is so important, particularly on college campuses. By taking even one of the steps above, we can come together in an effort to improve the world around us for those struggling with eating disorders. Show your support. Get involved!
Think you might be suffering from an eating disorder? The National Eating Disorders Association has a free and confidential screening to help you determine next steps. If you're looking for more information, be sure to call the NEDA helpline. Looking for more ways to help spread the word? Find out how you can get involved on your campus.