Physicians working to identify the warning signs of eating d

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Physicians working to identify the warning signs of eating disorders
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This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
National Eating Disorders Assoc.

Mississippi doctors are seeing people with a wide range of eating disorders. And in the U.S. about 30 million people will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports on what people need to know about these illnesses.

Physicians in Mississippi are working to identify the warning signs of eating disorders before they become a serious medical condition. Dr. Crystal Lim is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She says there is inpatient and outpatient treatment for those who need it.

“There are a wide range of eating disorders and different eating disorders that we see in patients in Mississippi,” said Dr. Lim. “At the hospital we also see patients with anorexia and bulimia.”

In the U.S., 30 million people will struggle from an eating disorder in their lifetime. Lauren Smolar with the National Eating Disorders Association says it's important to break the stigma surrounding these illnesses.

“Often people think of eating disorders as a disorder of privilege that really affects white women,” said Smolar. “That’s simply not true. Eating disorders really can affect anyone. We know that men struggle. People of all different ethnicities struggle with eating disorders. All socioeconomic backgrounds struggle with eating disorders.”

Past life events, the need for control, or using extreme measures to look a certain way are some reasons why people develop these disorders says Taylor VanDyk. She's a registered dietitian at Mississippi State University.

“The best thing is to just be a friend, be a listener,” said VanDyk. Maybe ask some questions about what’s going on and express your concerns. Say I’m not doing this out of a place of hate or it’s more just that, I’m really concerned about you. I want you to be healthy. I want you to be around for a long time.”

Physicians say teaching children the importance of having a healthy body image can help stop eating disorders.

Photo Credit: National Eating Disorders Association