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Dallas Mayor, Texas Health Dallas Make Proclamation for Eating Disorders Awareness|
DALLAS — Mayor Tom Leppert proclaimed Feb. 7-13 Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Dallas, in honor of the national campaign to raise awareness about the devastating mental illnesses that strike young women in North Texas and throughout the country.
The proclamation was made in support of the Eating Disorders Program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, which treats and sponsors research for those suffering from the deadly conditions. Eating disorders experts at Texas Health Dallas say what’s most troubling about the issue is that those who suffer from eating disorders are often ashamed, which cloaks the disease in secrecy.
“If someone is diagnosed with cancer or asthma or a heart problem, there’s not that sense of shame that comes with having an eating disorder,” said Dr. Jim Harris, manager of the eating disorders program at Texas Health Dallas. “The problem is that that by pushing the issue under the table we’re not addressing it—and these patients, many of whom are young women, aren’t getting the help they need.”
The consequences can be deadly.
Eating disorders are among the most dangerous health issues facing American women, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. They’re the most deadly mental illness. The mortality rate of eating disorders is 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population. An eating disorder-related death is most commonly due to suicide, heart failure, or other medical complications associated with the condition.
Due to lack of awareness, Harris said, many deaths with an underlying cause of an eating disorder may get reported with no reference to the eating disorder. More than 10 million women in the United States struggle with an eating disorder, with 80 percent of American women overall dissatisfied with their appearance.
“Eating disorders are complex, over-determined illnesses that appear to be created in the interplay of genetic pre-disposition and cultural pressures,” Harris added. “We want to raise awareness about these conditions so that people are better able to identify them and seek help.”
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, friends and family should note the following:
About the Eating Disorders Program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas