Wednesday, 13 March 2013

ED education

Continuing on my soap box about how we need to increase ED awareness, I want to spend a bit of time on this post talking about nutrition and health education in schools.

When I was young, we never got taught about ED. In fact, all we learned about was how too much junk food would make us fat and obese. We also learned how important it was to have a diet that did not have 'junk food' in it. But we never talked about the other end of the spectrum - the ED part. The part about the victims who never eat because of their mental illness. Who can die because they cannot eat.

I think schools need to start educate children and teens about this. Teaching them that overweight is needed, but we also need a balance to include what happens when you don't eat enough. Many people fall into ED and they don't know how this illness can kill them. Others have ED and they constantly hear messages in their schools saying that certain foods should not be eaten. It would me helpful to teach children about the 'moderation' in life - that both extremes are wrong.

I remember in high school gym, we had to weigh ourselves in front of everyone, plot our weight, and then measure again after a month to see what it did. I recall one my friends was so thin. She stood on the scale and people were shocked at how little she weighed. 'Wow! Only xx pounds! You are so skinny! I was I was that small'. That's what everyone said.

I was right after her. My weight was significantly higher than hers. No one said anything. They just looked at the scale, then at me, and said nothing. A few people kept taking about the skinny girl. But inside, I felt terrible. I weighed so much more! In fact, by the end of the class, I realized that I weighed the most. That was a terrible day. I felt fat and ugly. I don't know if this created ED, but it certainly fueled it.

The point of that story was to show that schools don't need to encourage students to track their weight and compare to others. It just reinforces negative ideas about food and weight. Weight is not a competition and should not be focussed on, even in gym class. Teachers need to be sensitive to these issues and realize that students need to be taught about living with food in a healthy way. In a way that promotes healthy eating, body image, food in moderation, and happy living.

Again, society needs to change. We all need to reframe our ideas about what is healthy and what is right. We need to make ourselves aware of the fact that while obesity is an issue, EDs are also problematic. Both extremes are dangerous and both should be taught in schools to educate the public.


  1. I completely agree with you .


  2. Good blog


  3. Schools are educational centre,yes ,they do a lot of teaching
    But in order for them to give the right message ,they need to consider all aspects.
    If Obesity is inflicting one third of our country and ED only 5% ,
    So they shoud at least address ED once for every 4-6 times address obesity related issues.
    Moderations in every thing even in teaching and giving a balanced message

  4. School should worry more about malnutrition .IF students do not get enough nutritions,they can not have the sharp brain thinking and grasp and retain informations as those who eats well ,and get snacks


  5. You are right ,schools should pay attentions to students who skips meals especilly breakfast or live in poverity and limited access to good nutrition.
    In my country We have very common adage <healthy brain and mind only in healthy body)


  6. What kind of teacher this gym teacher I think he is a a jerk


  7. This teacher behaviour is unprofessional


  8. I know many families and their children have their meals at food banks or soup kitchen that is barely minimum for student to be able to focus and study.
    Schools should look at those people rather than sending a message that only obesoity is ahealth rsik.


  9. I am not sure if this school imposed or the gym teacher ignorance and his/her own biased short sighted views.
    ED is more deadly and risky than obesity .Luckly ED is rare but may be as Marina sais underdiagnosed and if We find out all those who suffer may be as prevalent as obesity and schools if serious and caring should teach both at the same standard


  10. I believe in what Marina was saying about those who have DE or similar issue that is hidden under loose clothes and no one even close family memeber can detect their illness and may be for same reason ED is underdiagonesed and so impact on our society is underestimated and attracts only minimal attention from our society including schools and Health Canada.

    This is not fair and serious
    When I start my practice ,I will make sure my message heard to raise awareness as Marina is doing now .
    I am really disappointed with the Gym teacher behaviour and I thank you Marina for swallowing his behaviour in silence.


  11. I agree that health education in genral especilly at school should be reviewed so that we be clear about our message without overreacting to obesity hype and ignoring deadly and serius daignosed or undiagnosed ED

    Sandra D

  12. Marina
    you are the best.
    I really had it with school and some teachers who impose their own opinion on students.I wish they listen and monitor what teachers are doing in class.
    Keep up your excellent progress in recovery and also in exposing the negativity in our society.


  13. This gym teacher should compete with him/her self and not to have students involved with his own issues.

  14. Marina
    My dear this messgae is wake up call for all teacher to be sensitive in the way they teach and for them make sure to give the right messgae to all students.
    Despite the fact that 15% of Canadain are living in poverity and taking their meals from food banks ,this teacher is completly unaware of the fact that 15% of students suffer from malnutrition and anemia .also 10% of univerity students have bowed legs(a sign of weak bone or ostoporesis)
    Wake up oblivious teacher

    Thanks Marina



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