It's estimated more people suffer from an eating disorder, than Alzheimer’s. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. And it's a chance for advocates to educate more people about the affliction. Some statistics show 10 million American women, and a million men suffer from some form of eating disorder. Our Jennifer Moxley has more information.
It's estimated four out of ten Americans suffer from an eating disorder or have known someone who has. Doctors said it's a complex illness.
Dr. Preeti Matkins treats young people suffering from eating disorders.
Matkins, the Medical Director at Teen Health Connection said, “At our center we have medical, dietician as well as a psychologist here. They all should work together.”
There are specific requirements to diagnose an eating disorder. Such as anorexia or bulimia. Dr. Matkins said a majority of people practicing dangerous eating habits don't meet the medical definition of an eating disorder but still need attention.
“This is something that could be potentially life threatening,” said Dr. Matkins.
She said friends and family should be direct if they have concerns about someone's weight and health.
“A lot of times people with eating disorders they'll tell you their goal. They'll say I'm 5'7' and I want to be 94 pounds and that's not a normal perception of where they are,” said Dr. Matkins.
As advocates take this next week to raise awareness of the dangers of eating disorders, doctors hope more people will take the illness seriously and seek help.