National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Begins February 21

Every year, in the final week of February, there is a campaign called National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. It strives to promote a good body image, increase awareness of eating disorders, and assist individuals affected. NEDA is in charge of planning the week-long celebration, which includes several activities and events to raise awareness and compel individuals to get help.

Eating Disorder

Millions of people worldwide are afflicted with eating disorders and significant mental illnesses. They can have devastating physical and psychological consequences and even be life-threatening if left untreated. Despite their prevalence, eating disorders are often misunderstood and stigmatized, making it difficult for people to seek the help they need.

Prevalence of Eating Disorders

Common types of eating disorders include −

  • Anorexia nervosa − Characterized by a great fear of gaining weight, a mistaken perception of one's physique, and excessive food restriction that causes considerable weight loss.

  • Bulimia nervosa − Characterised by recurring episodes of binge eating, followed by coping techniques such as fasting, arduous exercise, or purging.

  • Binge eating disorder − binge eating events that repeatedly occur without other coping mechanisms.

  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED) − Contain several eating disorders that fall short of the full definitions of anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorders.

The Impact of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have significant physical, emotional, and social consequences that can be short-term and long-lasting. The effects of eating disorders can be severe and lead to life-threatening health conditions, including heart disease, kidney failure, and even death.

Here are Some of the Ways Eating Disorders can Impact Individuals

Physical Consequences

  • Malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies due to inadequate food intake

  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation and bloating

  • Weakened immune system

  • Electrolyte abnormalities can cause renal and heart failure.

  • Irregular menstrual cycles and infertility in women

  • A condition known as osteoporosis weakens bones and raises the chance of fractures.

Mental Health Consequences

  • Body image issues and low self-esteem

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors

  • Social isolation and withdrawal

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Social Consequences

  • Eating disorders can also have a significant impact on social functioning, including −

  • Difficulty maintaining relationships with friends and family

  • Strained interpersonal relationships

  • Difficulty functioning at work or school

  • Financial strain due to the high cost of treatment

It is significant to remember that eating disorders can affect peers and family in addition to the affected person. Caregivers may feel helpless, frustrated, or guilty about handling the difficulties of caring for a loved one with an eating disorder. They may also need assistance.

Treatment may include medical management, psychotherapy, and nutritional counseling. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary to manage the physical and psychological consequences of the disorder.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

In the United States, the final week of February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW). The week's goal is to promote early detection, intervention, and treatment for those impacted by eating disorders.

The history of NEDAW dates back to 1987 when the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) was founded by a group of concerned parents, healthcare professionals, and individuals with eating disorders. Since then, NEDA has been a leading advocate for eating disorder awareness, prevention, and treatment.

NEDAW aims to educate the public about eating disorders and their impact on individuals, families, and communities. The week also aims to promote positive body image and self-esteem and to encourage early intervention and treatment for those affected by eating disorders.

During NEDAW, a variety of events and activities take place across the country, including −

Educational Workshops and Seminars

Healthcare professionals, educators, and community organizations organize workshops and seminars to provide information on eating disorders, their causes, and available treatment options. These events also offer support for individuals and families affected by eating disorders.

Social Media Campaigns

Social media campaigns are a popular way to raise awareness about eating disorders during NEDAW. Using hashtags such as #NEDAW and #EndEatingDisorders, individuals and organizations share information and resources to promote awareness and encourage dialogue about eating disorders.

Fundraising Events

Fundraising events, such as walks, runs, and charity events, are organized to raise funds for eating disorder treatment, research, and advocacy. These events also allow individuals and communities to unite to support those affected by eating disorders.

School Programs

School programs are organized to promote positive body image and self-esteem among students. These programs aim to educate students about the dangers of eating disorders and support those struggling with body image issues.

The significance of NEDAW lies in its ability to raise awareness about eating disorders and promote early intervention and treatment. Eating disorders are extreme mental illnesses with detrimental effects on the body, the mind, and society. Early intervention and treatment are critical for recovery, and NEDAW provides an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of seeking help for these illnesses.


The week allows healthcare professionals, educators, individuals, and families to share information, resources, and support for those affected by eating disorders. Through educational workshops, social media campaigns, fundraising events, and school programs, NEDAW helps to promote positive body image, self-esteem, and healthy relationships with food. By supporting NEDAW, we can work towards a world where eating disorders are recognized as serious mental illnesses requiring treatment and support and where those affected can access the help they need to recover and heal.

Updated on: 04-Apr-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started