Bullying, body image and eating disorders: NEDIC helps young girls fight for their self-esteem

Canadian News Wire features NEDIC Director Merryl Bear's efforts to raise awareness about eating disorders among girls as young as 10 years old, and how poor body image and low self-esteem make them particulalry vulnerable.

by Canadian Newswire
January 30, 2012

It's not our bodies that need changing. It's our attitudes.

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - The bullying-related tragedies that have dominated recent headlines are a devastating reminder of the need to do more for teens in crisis, among whom girls with low self-esteem and poor body image are often especially vulnerable.

Low self-esteem and poor body image can lead to all-consuming weight preoccupations, social anxiety, depression and suicide. They can also cause life-threatening eating disorders. Today, one in three girls aged 14-18 uses dangerous weight-management practices, and eating disorders have become the third most chronic illness among adolescent girls.

"Raising awareness of eating disorders and the self-esteem and body image issues that give rise to them is absolutely critical, not just among young people themselves but also in the clinical community," said Merryl Bear, Director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). "It's complicated, but research shows only two percent of family doctors and 33 percent of pediatricians are likely to accurately diagnose eating disorders when they see them in their practices."

NEDIC has provided information and resources on eating disorders and food and weight preoccupation since 1985. Among the more shocking statistics it has collected is the fact that 30 percent of girls as young as 10 to 14 years are dieting to lose weight—despite being in a healthy weight range.

NEDIC aims through its work to educate the public and shift societal attitudes, especially prejudices towards different body types. It served over 6,000 individuals last year: those affected by eating disorders, students, professional educators and health professionals.

To deepen public understanding of eating disorders and raise support for its activities, NEDIC is holding a fundraising event at the Thompson Landry Gallery in Toronto on February 2, 2012—the first of what is planned to be an annual occurrence. The evening will include entertainment, a silent auction and raffle as well as numerous opportunities for attendees to gain a better understanding of eating disorders.

For more information about NEDIC or the February fundraiser, visit www.nedic.ca.

The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 to provide information and resources on eating disorders and food and weight preoccupation. NEDIC's main goal is to inform the public about eating disorders and related issues as mandated by the Mental Health Programs and Services division of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. In addition, it promotes healthy lifestyles, including both healthy eating and appropriate, enjoyable exercise. NEDIC takes a client-centered approach, which means staff provide information and guidance about every option so that clients can make informed choices for themselves. NEDIC is a program of the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada.

For further information:
Media inquiries:

Suzanne Phillips, NEDIC Program Coordinator