The Intersection Between Eating Disorders and Mental Health

It’s that time of year again: Feb 26- March 4, 2017 is National Eating Disorders Awareness week (#NEDAwareness). This year’s theme is: It’s time to talk about it! The goal is to increase the conversations about eating disorders to decrease their stigma. Previous eating disorders blogs I wrote have discussed prevalence, warning signs, focusing on healthy habits instead of weight, males with body image issues, and even a first-person account of living with an eating disorder. This year I’m going to focus on the intersection of eating disorders and other common mental health conditions.

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Watch Your Words When Talking About Weight

Talking about WeightThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released new guidelines to prevent both obesity and eating disorders in America’s youth. These chronic diseases are among the top three that plague children and adolescents in the U.S. About 30% of children and adolescents in the U.S. are now overweight or obese and nearly 3% have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. The nation’s obese youth continue to become more obese despite stable prevalence and more and more children are being diagnosed with eating disorders, especially teens who are just trying to “eat healthier.” When trying to achieve healthier weight, these at-risk populations find themselves on a very slippery slope with good intentions. Additionally, teens often use drastic and dangerous weight loss strategies including severe dieting, diet pills, purging and excessive exercise to get the results they desire.

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Running Away from Me to Find Myself

Instead of coming from me, sometimes it’s better to hear stories directly from the people who are going through it. This powerful blog entry is written by a patient of mine during her battle with an eating disorder. She gave permission to share it. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact a health care provider. Check out National Eating Disorders Association for more information.

 – Paula Cody, MD, MPH

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Obesity and Eating Disorders (ie Which came first? The chicken or the egg?)

ss_245472493_doctor_girl_teenAs I was preparing for a talk about effective obesity screening with the US Department of Health and Human Services (see below for link), I found myself getting really frustrated with the over-simplification of obesity.

Childhood and adolescent obesity is definitely a problem. It has increased a lot over the past 4 decades (like three- to six-fold). Over 1 in 5 youth are currently obese. Read more

Teen Eating Disorders

Teen GirlFebruary 22-28, 2015 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which is perfect timing since we tend to see a surge of new eating disorder diagnoses after the holidays (and during summer…and fall…). I’m often asked, “Are eating disorders more common now than they were years ago?” If the number of consults I’m seeing is any indication, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” However, I am biased, so let’s look at the data.

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