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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Neighbor2Neighbor: Andrea’s Voice Foundation


There’s no doubt about it: We live in a culture obsessed with body image and food. It’s an ironic juxtaposition. Where once chores, walking to the market and the odd softball game provided the exercise we needed, gyms and fitness centers have proliferated to help us stay healthy and active. As a “fast food nation,” we’ve become accustomed to restaurants not as sources of nourishment so much as sources of fast calories or, at the other end of the spectrum, high art. When we season revised notions of exercise and food with the United States’ infatuation with thinness, it’s a recipe for disaster. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds. There’s a disconnect here, and it’s one that for millions of women and men can be dangerous, even fatal.

Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions that include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Those who live with these disorders are so preoccupied with food and weight that often they can focus on little else.

Right here in Napa, an organization with a mission that extends far beyond our borders seeks to alleviate the suffering of those fighting eating disorders. According to Doris Smeltzer, president and co-founder of the Andrea’s Voice Foundation, “Eating disorders kill more than any other psychiatric diagnosis (Herzog, et al 2000). That said, complete healing is absolutely possible, but it takes early intervention and diagnosis. Prevention is paramount, yet we cannot prevent what we do not understand. Education is key. That is why we do what we do.”
If you are in recovery from Anorexia, what are some ways you could become involved in promoting awareness from this eating disorder?

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