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Eating disorders charity Beat tackles illness 'stigma'




The charity aims to challenge the stigma of eating disorders
Only one person in five in Wales believes eating disorders are mental health condition, claims a charity.

Around a quarter of those surveyed for Beat Cymru believed that people had eating disorders to lose weight, while others thought it a "lifestyle choice".

The charity, formerly the Eating Disorders Association, said men and women of all ages were affected but young people were most vulnerable.

It said it wanted to "challenge the stigma" around eating disorders.

Beat Cymru, a five-year Lottery-funded project, said around 50,000 people in Wales have eating disorders and as many as 1-in-10 of them may die prematurely.

Eating disorders affect seven girls in every 1,000, and one boy in every 1,000.

'Mental health'

It usually begins to be a problem in teenage years, but can happen at any time.

In July last year, Health Minister Edwina Hart said two specialist teams would provide support for people in Wales with serious eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

Beat Cymru said its survey found a "significant proportion" of people in Wales believe that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice.

It is to reveal the results of its study on Tuesday.

Chief executive Susan Ringwood it was "shocking" that 80% of those surveyed did not believe that eating disorders were a mental health issue.

'Stigma and ignorance'

She said: "It is vital that people understand how serious an eating disorder is and where they can get help and support if they are ill.

"We will challenge stigma and ignorance where we see it but also ensure that people with eating disorders receive the support and information they need to beat their eating disorder."

She said the charity would set up networks of trained volunteers who will lead self-help groups.


LOL, who did they survey, the local pro-anorexia community? What's coming next - schizophrenia as a lifestyle choice?