National eating disorder week is coming up in March, so, we’d like to help raise awareness by busting some myths around the topic and giving some more information.

It is believed approximately 1.25 million people in the UK experience eating disorders.

There are various types of eating disorders including anorexia, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), binge eating disorder, bulimia and other specified feeding or eating disorder. Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on your weight, body shape and food, leading to dangerous eating behaviour.

Myths & Facts

MYTH: ‘Eating disorders are someone being vain and attention seeking’

FACT: Eating disorders are not a choice, they are a serious illness and can be life threatening.

MYTH: ‘Someone must be underweight to have an eating disorder’

FACT: Although this is common for some eating disorders, most people stay at a ‘healthy weight’ or are ‘overweight’.

MYTH: ‘Eating disorders only occur in young girls’

FACT: Eating disorders are not discriminative. They can affect anyone, despite their gender, age, sexuality, weight, ethnicity etc.

MYTH: ‘People can’t recover from an illness, it’s in their genes’

FACT: Although there is evidence that someone’s genes contribute to the risk of developing an eating disorder, this does not mean that they cannot recover. Genes are only one part of a complex mix of risk factors.

It can often be very difficult to identify that a loved one or friend has developed an eating disorder, especially in the early stages.

Warning signs to look out for include:
  • dramatic weight loss
  • lying about how much and when they have eaten, or how much they weigh
  • eating a lot of food very fast
  • going to the bathroom a lot after eating, often returning looking flushed
  • excessively or obsessively exercising
  • avoiding eating with others
  • cutting food into small pieces or eating very slowly
  • wearing loose or baggy clothes to hide their weight loss

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For more information about eating disorders or support visit: