GANDER, NL – A flag raising and proclamation signing for Eating Disorder Awareness Week was held at the town hall in Gander today, Feb. 1.
Dr. Jill Starkes, regional chief of pediatrics for Central Health, a consultant pediatrician at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre in Gander and a director with the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador's (EDFNL) board, was among those on hand for the event.
A lot of young people, many of whom are not overweight, wish to be thinner and try to change the way their body looks by dieting or skipping meals, Starkes said in a news release.
For some, weight becomes and obsession and can turn into a serious eating disorder. Poor nutrition associated with eating disorders can harm organs and cause death in severe cases, she added.
“Physicians and mental health professionals can work with families to address the thoughts and behaviours that put young people’s lives at risk,” Starkes said.
During Eating Disorder Awareness Week this year, local health care providers are partnering with the EDFNL this year to raise public awareness about conditions like anorexia and bulimia.
Starkes said the EDFNL was pleased with Health Minister John Haggie’s announcement of funding for the province’s first ever inpatient eating disorder unit for adults after many years of lobbying.
As well, numerous individuals from central Newfoundland have travelled to St. John’s to take part in the outpatient HOPE program, which includes medical care and counselling, while others have accessed support groups for parents and sibling through teleconference links.
“Locally, the foundation has worked with us to provide education to family doctors, as well as other training sessions for teachers, dieticians, therapists and others who have contact with young people who may need assistance,” Starkes said.
The theme for Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2018 is “One size does not fit all.”
More about the EDFNL’s work can be found online at www.edfnl.ca.