Eating Disorders Affect People of Every Age, Race, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation and Background

Eating disorders are illnesses in which people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors, have extreme thoughts and emotions related to their eating behaviors and body image, and experience serious medical and mental health concerns as a result of obsessions with food, body weight, and shape. Eating disorders can affect a person’s physical and mental health; in some cases, they can be life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Learning more about them can help you spot the warning signs and seek treatment early. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice. They are biologically-influenced medical illnesses. The exact cause of eating disorders is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors can raise a person’s risk. Eating disorders affect people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Although eating disorders often appear during the teen years or young adulthood, they may also develop during childhood or later in life (40 years and older). People with eating disorders may appear healthy, yet be extremely ill. If you think you, or someone you know, may have an eating disorder that interferes with the persons happiness or ability to function, then the person may want to consider seeking help.

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