NEDA/Obesity Panel

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
May/June 2010 Volume 21, Number 3
©2010 Gürze Books

On April 2, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the STOP Obesity Alliance hosted a panel discussion to explore ways in which media and society as a whole can more effectively speak about issues of weight and health. NEDA CEO Lynn Grefe said, ‘While eating disorders have the highest death rate of any mental illness, we also know obesity kills.” The panel included representatives from major television networks and popular women’s magazines and from other eating disorders associations. The panel pointed to some of the cultural factors that contribute to the problem, including the recent flood of reality TV programs that focus on extreme weight loss. In addition, even while spending on diet and weight loss products continues to climb, obesity has skyrocketed. The panel also pointed to unrealistic images from the media that contribute to pressures to be thin; the common practice of using body mass index to measure population trends versus individual health were also targeted. Representatives of the eating disorders organizations vowed to track media coverage of both their summit and related topics, and to plan future joint panel discussions involving the media, eating disorders organizations, patients, and other interested parties.

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