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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Reports & Publications - Newsletters

Monthly Board Report - March 2001


Eating Disorder Awareness

Submitted by Dianne Oikle, and Heather Deegan, Public Health Nutritionists

In Canada, the rates of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia,
are on the rise among men and women. The facts are alarming:

  • Approximately 90% of women experience body image dissatisfaction,

  • 52% of girls begin dieting before age 14,

  • As many as 40% of teenage boys are unhappy with their appearance,

  • 80% of girls have dieted by the age of 18 years,

  • Approximately 10% of identified eating disorders occur in males,

  • Boys and girls are dieting at younger and younger ages - many before they enter grade 6,

  • 70% of women and 35% of men are dieting at any given time (NEDIC website),

  • Most children live in a home where at least one parent is dieting. (NEDIC website),

  • Canadian children in grade three and four say they would rather lose a parent, get cancer, or live through nuclear war than be fat (NEDIC website).

Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) was February 4-10, 2001. EDAW is an annual national event coordinated by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre. The goal is to reduce the prevalence of anorexia, bulimia, dieting, and body image problems through a public education program emphasizing social factors that contribute to their development. The objectives of the campaign include providing information on eating disorders, dieting, and weight preoccupation through media, professional, and public education; advocacy for change in social attitudes about external appearance; and encouraging individuals with eating disorders to seek support and help.

To recognize this event and raise awareness about eating disorders, the dietitians at the health unit participated in several activities. Awareness posters to recognize the event were posted in each of the health unit offices for the public and staff. A fact sheet with information on EDAW and eating disorders was included in each staff member's paycheck to improve staff knowledge about eating disorders. Information on EDAW and links to websites on healthy weights, eating disorders, and media advocacy were posted on the health unit website at www.healthunit.org. In addition, a radio interview with one of our dietitians was aired on CFJR on Feb. 6 & 7 (total 4 times) to raise public awareness of the social factors that lead to disordered eating and body image dissatisfaction. The interview also provided information for parents and friends if they suspect someone they care about has an eating disorder.

The health unit dietitians will continue to raise awareness about healthy eating and address the most prevalent nutrition myths surrounding dieting and disordered eating during the upcoming Nutrition Month Campaign in March 2001.



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