KSTP’s Report- Both Sides of the Scale


You may have seen on our Facebook/Twitter this story KSTP recently did about eating disorder treatment and prevention, featuring our friends over at The Emily Program (and a cameo of our sign!) If not, you should check it out now:

We love the highlighting of eating disorders as a serious and prevalent health issue. A few take aways from the story (or the too long; didn’t watch version):

  • 180,000 Minnesotans struggle with and eating disorder
    • That’s 1 out of every 30 people you know
  • Less than half seek treatment
  • Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder, at over 4x the rate of anorexia and bulimia
  • Patients with a binge eating disorder diagnosis can have more issues getting their treatment covered by insurance
  • Eating disorders are as or more prevalent than:
    • Breast cancer
    • HIV
    • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders have the highest fatality rate of any mental illness

These facts can be a little jarring. The question at the end of this segment is- what can we do for prevention? If you have any ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments! We’d like to defer to this lovely piece by Dina Zeckhausen, Ph.D. and her advice for how parents can teach healthy attitudes about body image and food. The beginning of her segment touches on a recent practice- BMI report cards– that seems to be meant to promote health, but which the Academy of Eating Disorders came out strongly against. So what can we do to promote health and stay away from shame and stigma based tactics?

Check the full article for details, but in summary Dr. Zeckhausen says (and we agree!):

  1. Listen to and trust your body
  2. Be aware of factors that interfere with appetite signals.
  3. It’s also OK to Say “NO” to your kids when it comes to food.
  4. Body acceptance leads to healthier behaviors than body shame.
  5. Move your body every day, but do so to feel happy and energized.
  6. Separate eating from emotions.
  7. If your child gets teased about her body talk her through these three strategies.
    1. Ignore it.
    2. Speak up assertively.
    3. Tell a trusted adult who can address the mean kid.
  8. Relax and maintain perspective.
  9. Find a weight-sensitive pediatrician.
  10. If all else fails, seek expert help for yourself or your child.

What do you think? Responses to the KSTP segment or Dr. Zeckhausen’s piece?