To many, the words “eating disorder” lead to images of an emaciated young woman struggling to feed herself. In reality, eating disorders aren’t just about restricting food intake. These dangerous mental illnesses can include overeating, over-exercising and even a fear of certain foods, and they affect people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and backgrounds. And though the illnesses are often secretive and hidden, an estimated 20 million American women and 10 million American men will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.
Callie Crossley speaks with two Boston experts about the rise of eating disorders in America and helps to dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding these deadly disorders.
- Beth Mayer, licensed independent clinical social worker and executive director of the Multi-service Eating Disorder Association in Newton. Follow MEDA on Twitter.
- Dr. Jennifer Thomas, associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program. She is also the author of "Almost Anorexic." Follow Jennifer on Twitter.
Are you living with an eating disorder and need help in your recovery? Please check out these resources:
- National Eating Disorder Association: Learn more about eating disorders and how to get help.
- Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association: A Newton, Mass.-based eating disorder
- Massachusetts General Hospital: Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program
Learn more about MEDA and eating disorders:
For those interested in participating in a research study:
- Massachusetts General Hospital’s Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program is currently recruiting girls and young women between 10 and 22 years old with low-weight eating disorders; boys, girls, and young men and women ages between 10 and 22 years old with avoidant/restrictive eating; and healthy control boys and girls of the same age. Here is the link to fill out an eligibility survey.