Giving Hope, Awareness, Community

This “Giving Tuesday,” ACED is inviting you to give people in your life a gift of hope and awareness to deepen your community. Eating disorders prey on silence and ignorance and, together with ACED, we hope you can open the conversation about the disease – specifically in athletics.

High-level, successful, and “disciplined” athletes are not immune to eating disorders, including but not limited to anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and orthorexia. The following statistics and their sources have been reported by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website. See much more, here.

-35% of female and 10% of male college athletes were at risk for anorexia nervosa and 58% of female and 38% of male college athletes were at risk for bulimia nervosa. (1)

An estimated 3% of gym-goers have a destructive relationship with exercise. That number may be even higher, including a 2008 Paris study that found that up to 42% of gym-goers have a destructive relationship with exercise.

-Over one-third of Division I NCAA female athletes reported attitudes and symptoms placing them at risk for anorexia nervosa. (2)

-Among female college athletes surveyed, 25.5% had subclinical eating disorder symptoms. (3)

-Eating disorders are serious conditions that can have a profound mental and physical impact, including death. This should not discourage anyone struggling—recovery is real, and treatment is available. Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opioid addiction. (4)

  • 1. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) Columbia University; New York: 2003.
  • 2. Johnson, C. Powers, P.S., and Dick, R. Athletes and Eating Disorders: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Study, Int J Eat Disord 1999; 6:179.
  • 3. Greenleaf, C., Petrie, T. A., Carter, J., & Reel, J. J. (2009). Female Collegiate Athletes: Prevalence of Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating Behaviors. Journal of American College Health, 57(5), 489-496. doi:10.3200/jach.57.5.489-496
  • 4. Chesney, E., Goodwin, G. M., & Fazel, S. (2014). Risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta-review. World Psychiatry, 13(2), 153-160.

This is why it’s important.

By having conversations about the risk factors and healthy behaviors and mindset, you’re giving someone the option to seek recovery. You’re giving them hope. You’re making everyone more aware. You’re building a stronger community by having difficult conversations.

Don’t know where to start?

There are plenty of educational resources out there (check out my “Resources” page for a few to get you started). You can read about some signs an athlete might have an eating disorder or issues relating to one, here.

Additionally, I’d love to get involved. It’s my passion to relate to athletes and the athletic community (their parents, coaches, and staff) from my experience and encourage those struggling to seek help and know that they are not alone.

As you hear my story that inspired ACED, I think you’ll se that eating disorders effect “regular” people just like you. Or, your child, your athlete, or someone you might know.

Like so many young athletes today, 17-year-old-me was a happy, successful, high-achieving kid. I earned good grades, was an exceptional athlete, had a positive home life, and was well-liked at school. I still developed an eating disorder.

At the time, no one in my life knew how to help me because they just didn’t know enough about eating disorders… especially with someone like me who didn’t fit who they thought would have one.

For years, I suffered. I wasn’t alone, though. The disease also effected my family and friends because they wanted recovery for me more than I wanted it.

If only they knew the risk factors; they could have stepped in before it was already a big problem; they knew what to say and didn’t stay silent; they could encourage me with positive words instead of (unknowingly) driving me deeper into my darkness.

What I’m offering is a chance to hear my story, give you insight to how eating disorders show up in these “regular” people, why athletes are at a higher risk for eating disorders with less awareness than non-athletes, and how the athletic community (coaches, parents, and staff) can support them.

Interested? Send me an email at SloaneMGreen@gmail.com and let’s talk about how we can work together!

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