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I learned more about eating disorders when I met the charity, Beat as we approach Eating Disorders Awareness Week which is from 2-8 March.

The scale of the challenge of eating disorders is not known but it is estimated that 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder but it is not known how many people simply have not come forward for help or recognise their illness. The cost to the economy is £16.8billion per year.

Eating disorders do not discriminate - anyone can be affected, regardless of age, gender or background. Up to 25% of those diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia are male and 40% for binge eating disorder.

4% of the total population will suffer in their lifetime and many more around them are affected - family, friends, colleagues and others involved in their daily lives. The causes are complex and there is no one single cause but their development is likely to be a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, social and environmental factors.

Recovery is possible but the sooner someone can access treatment, the better the chances of making a full and sustained recovery. Sadly, it takes, on average, almost three years for people to recognise their symptoms and seek help

This charity is a champion, guide and friend to anyone affected by this condition and their families. Anyone who is or has a loved one who is living with this condition is listened to, supported and empowered by Beat.

If you are concerned about you or a loved one possibly having an eating disorder, please contact the Beat Helpline on 0808 801 0677 - open 12-8pm Monday to Friday and 4-8pm at weekends and bank holidays. The line is open 365 days each year. Or visit

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