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Eating Disorders, Not What You Think

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

Think of a person with an eating disorder.

Is it a thin, white, cisgender, young, female?

Not surprising really, given the way eating disorders are represented on TV and in social media. There is a degree of truth here, eating disorders are most commonly diagnosed in adolescent females, but there’s so much more to understand.

Did you know:

· Many people with eating disorders look “healthy” on the outside.

· You can be any size or shape and be suffering from an eating disorder.

· 37% of people with eating disorders are male (it is very likely to be higher but they are often misdiagnosed or disregarded).

· Transgender people are more likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder than cisgender people.

· Eating disorders appear across all age groups; people younger the 5 and older than 80 have been diagnosed with eating disorders.

· Eating disorders affect people of all ethnicity, nationality or cultural background and socioeconomic status.

· Eating disorders do not discriminate. They impact the lives of 1 million people in Australia alone in one given year.

What are Eating Disorders Really?

Eating disorders fall under the category of complex mental illnesses, characterised by high levels of psychological distress and significant physical health risks and complications. People with eating disorders experience disturbances in their thoughts, behaviours and beliefs around food, eating and their body. Of all mental illnesses, they have the highest mortality rate.

Anorexia Nervosa is the most familiar eating disorder for most people. However, there are a range of eating disorders all of which are equal in their seriousness and the significant impact they have on quality of life. Other eating disorders include:

· Bulimia Nervosa,

· Anorexia Nervosa

· Binge Eating Disorder

· Other Specified Eating and Feeding Disorders (OSFED)

· Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID)

· Orthorexia Nervosa

· Body Dysmorphic Disorder

· Pica

· Rumination Disorder

Seeking Help for an Eating Disorder or Disordered Eating:

If you think about all the types of eating disorders that exist and the number of lives impacted by them, it’s not realistic to think that eating disorders can only affect “one type” of person.

If you or a loved one is experiencing distress in regard to eating and body image, but do not fit the stereotype of an eating disorder, you are equally deserving of help. People of any and all weight, shape, gender, age, race or sexual orientation, including those who do fit the stereotype, are deserving of help.

Our team of dietitians is dedicated to supporting all people whose lives have been impacted by disordered eating and eating disorders. We know that recovery is possible and aim to help people re-nourish and feel at peace in their bodies. So even if you don’t feel like you’re the type of person who gets an eating disorder, or you don’t feel or think you look sick enough, reach out.


A group of friends chatting, one is distracted
Eating disorders, not what you think


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