Eating Disorders 101

Article by the National Eating Disorders Collaboration

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) recently launched a new video “Eating Disorders 101”

This ninety second animated video highlights key facts about eating disorders, dispels misconceptions and encourages help seeking. 

This video has been developed for use online, particularly through social media, for the general public. It is hoped that in reaching a broad audience NEDC will encourage interaction with evidence-based information on the NEDC website and contribute to the improvement of eating disorders awareness and understanding in Australia. 

While they are often characterised as a ‘lifestyle choice’ or a ‘diet gone too far’ eating disorders are actually serious mental illnesses. Around 9% of Australians have a lifetime prevalence of an eating disorder.

The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses and over 12 times that seen in people without eating disorders. 

Greater understanding of the facts about mental health and eating disorders leads not only to a more aware and accepting community, but also improves prevention, early identification and help-seeking. However research indicates that there are generally low levels of mental health literacy in the community in relation to eating disorders.

The earlier an eating disorder is uncovered, the sooner an individual can seek help, access treatments and begin working towards recovery. Unfortunately low mental health literacy in the community can be directly related to a delay in help seeking. 

People with eating disorders typically delay seeking treatment for approximately 8 years. This suggests that people with eating disorders experience significant barriers to seeking help. 

A person with an eating disorder may show resistance to getting help or to admitting they have a problem and friends and family can be essential in helping someone they care about seek professional help. Carers, families and friends also play a significant role in managing and caring for someone with an eating disorder.

Fortunately, as NEDC highlights in the video, “with the right treatment and support from people who care eating disorders can be beaten for good.”

To ensure this essential message is heard by as many people as possible NEDC encourages everyone to share this video amongst their networks and their community.

The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health.

NEDC.COM.AU has been developed as a one stop portal to make eating disorders more accessible for everyone bringing research, expertise and evidence from leaders in the field together in one place. More resources and evidence based information for all audiences can be found on the website.


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