Almost 3.5 million Californians will have an eating disorder within their lifetime. That’s nine percent of the California population, resulting in 10,200 deaths per year.
30 million Americans have diagnosed eating disorders, making California 11.7% of the national diagnoses. Despite the prevalence of eating disorders not only in America, but in our home state, stigma and stereotypes still prevail above compassion and truth.
Eating disorders are often framed as restrictive tendencies only; the white, thin, beautiful, dainty and romanticized eating disorder has taken over the media in a non-representational storm. Lack of media representation of black and brown people, men, binge eating, and the ugly, destructive nature of eating disorders has led to the image of someone with an eating disorder as something almost idyllic and coveted.
The face of eating disorders has no distinctive race, weight, gender, or class. The causes of eating disorders vary as well; from control issues, abuse, trauma, societal pressure and mental health, the causes often work together to create a monster in one’s mind that constantly berates and criticizes.
Eating disorders have experienced a rise in diagnosis since 2020, and the influence of society to look a certain way, constantly be successful, and to put oneself under an immense amount of pressure doesn’t seem to be reaching an end, either.
It seems there’s no end to eating disorders in sight, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you and those you love. Be aware of the triggers and warning signs for yourself and others to mitigate the severity or chances of adding to the statistics.