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Working towards a better understanding of eating disorders

Myths and Trusts about Eating Disorders

Cultural myths and misunderstandings about eating disorders are harmful to sufferers and their families and impact on a patient's ability to access treatment and recover fully. People looking for information find confusing, contradictory recommendations and resources, often based on pseudoscience and long-held, out of date beliefs, rather than medical research.

'Nine TRUTHS about eating disorders' below is produced by a collective of medical professionals and advocacy groups. We believe dispelling the myths and stating the facts about eating disorders is a vital step in improving outcomes for patients and their families

Nine TRUTHS about eating disorders

  1. Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.
  2. Families are not to blame, and can be the patients and providers' best allies in treatment.
  3. An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
  4. Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.
  5. Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
  6. Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
  7. Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
  8. Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.
  9. Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.


* " Nine Truths" was produced by a group of leading organizations in the field of eating disorders in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, who serves as distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Watch Cynthia Bulik speak about eating disorders here.