Wellness Wednesday: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

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Feb. 27 through March 4 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. In South Dakota, there are very few resources for eating disorder treatment.

There aren't any inpatient services, and outpatient sources are limited. Registered Dietitian Cindy Gates says the best way to help is to talk about the issue.

"People in South Dakota do not talk about eating disorders. I couldn't even find any statistics for South Dakota for how many people have eating disorders. So, it's time for South Dakota to talk about eating disorders,” says Gates.

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Gates says only 30 percent of people suffering from anorexia nervosa and only 4 percent of those with bulimia will seek treatment. If you suspect a friend or family member is suffering from an eating disorder, Gates recommends being patient with the process.

"Be prepared. Go on a website, learn what an eating disorder is. Be patient with them. Listen to them, they aren't going to be cured overnight. There is an online screening tool where you can put all of your information in to see where you are in your eating disorder, but just be patient because a lot of people won't admit that they have an eating disorder. Again, it goes back to the whole eating disorder awareness. Nobody's talking about it,” says Gates.

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That online resource can be found at the National Eating Disorder Association’s website at the following: http://nedawareness.org/screening

The NEDA site is also a good resource for information on eating disorders, and where to get help.

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