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26 February - 3 March 2024 is Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

I again participated in this annual debate on this issue.  I first became aware of this disease in the 1980s when Karen Carpenter died and then in 1999 Lean Zavaroni also died.  Both women had struggled with eating disorders for a number of years and sadly succumbed to them when they ought to have had so many years ahead of them.


Similarly, we have an estimated 1.25 million people across the UK in a similar struggle – and eating disorders are no respecter of age, ethnicity, gender or background and a quarter of those with eating disorders are men.  The mortality rate is high especially for those with anorexia having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and with 1 in 6 people with binge eating disorder attempting to end their lives.


Eating Disorder Awareness Week this year seeks to highlight Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), a relatively new term. ARFID is different from other restrictive eating disorders in that it describes a pattern of eating that avoids certain foods or food groups entirely and/or is restricted in quantity (eating small amounts). It is not related to body image or weight loss.


Researchers know much less about what puts someone at risk of developing ARFID, but it has been discovered that people with autism spectrum conditions are much more likely to develop ARFID, as are those with ADHD and intellectual disabilities.  In addition, children who don’t outgrow normal picky eating, or in whom picky eating is severe, appear to be more likely to develop ARFID. Many children with ARFID also have a co-occurring anxiety disorder, and they are also at high risk for other psychiatric disorders.


According to BEAT, the UK’s largest eating disorder charity, there has been a sevenfold increase in calls to their helpline related to ARFID over the past five years.

For support with an eating disorder for yourself or a loved one, you can contact BEAT from 3pm– 8pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0432 or for more information visit

See my contribution to the debate below 👇


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