National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: How to help a loved on - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: How to help a loved one

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This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

It's an opportunity for advocates to raise awareness about the seriousness of the illnesses and how people can reach out for help.

"Eating disorders are serious problems. They're not simple problems with vanity, they're not people acting badly. These are serious medical conditions which are life threatening," says Sanford Health Eating Disorders Department Chair Stephen Wonderlich.

Wonderlich is on the board of the National Eating Disorders Association, which organizes this week's National Eating Disorders Awareness event. He says eating disorders could be affecting thousands even in the Fargo-Moorhead area. If you're concerned about a love one, there are a few warning signs to look for:

"Real concerns about what they eat, about their body shape, about their weight, their appearance," says Wonderlich. "These become just major themes in their life," he says.

If you're concerned about someone, it's a difficult topic to bring up, but it could save their life.

"Say 'Look, we're worried about you. We're seeing these changes and we'd like to talk to you about it. We'd like to make arrangements to get you help if you need it,'" he says

Fargo's Gasper's School of Dance is well aware of the stereotypes and pressures and takes time to talk to their dancers about being healthy.

"It's really hard in the dance world, there's a lot of pressure for young dancers to look as the prima ballerina does, super skinny," says Fargo's Gasper's School of Dance Instructor Chantell Sampson.

The school just finished a seminar called "Love Your Body."

"We want them as dancers to feel good about their bodies no matter what size or shape they are and we want them to be healthy and to be happy," she says.


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