Ontario to Proclaim Eating Disorder Awareness Week
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Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) has been commemorated across Canada since 1988 by established eating disorder organizations, education and public health institutions, and concerned members of the public. It draws attention to the causes, prevalence and impact of eating disorders. EDAW runs from February 1 - 7th annually across the country. In the past there have been over 50 municipalities and 6 provinces who have proclaimed EDAW. Despite yearly effort, the province of Ontario has still not proclaimed EDAW, nor has it been proclaimed nationally.
Eating disorders are the number one cause of death among all psychiatric illnesses and are the third most common cause of death in teenage girls. It is estimated that 10% of individuals with AN will die within 10 years of the onset of the disorder. (Sullivan, 2002) In fact, 5-8% of Canadian girls will experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. However, eating disorders can develop in anyone, regardless of age, ethno-racial background, socioeconomic status, gender or ability. Did you know that Four percent of boys in grades nine and ten reported anabolic steroid use in a 2002 study, showing that body preoccupation and attempts to alter one’s body are issues affecting both men and women. (Boyce, 2004) Unfortunately, stigma and secrecy still surround eating disorders, causing many people who are suffering to refrain from seeking help, and to struggle in silence.
We know that through open, supportive dialogue, we can help break the shame and silence that affect nearly 1 million Canadians that are living with a diagnosed eating disorder and the millions of others who are struggling with unhealthy food and weight preoccupation. EDAW is a time to increase awareness about eating disorders, their impact and to shed light on the dangerous and pervasive myths that surround them. It is a time of year when Canadians can learn more about eating disorders and about the resources that are available for individuals and family members who are impacted by them.
Provincial recognition of EDAW would help to affirm the experiences of those with a friend, family member, or important person in their life who is dealing with this life-threatening mental illness, and draw attention to the need for eating disorder prevention, research, treatment, and resources.
Please help us spread awareness on this life threatening disorder, and help get the well needed support for all of those who are fighting their own battles by signing the petition!
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