Reporting eating disorders

If you are covering the story of someone with an eating disorder, here are some tips to help you. 

  • Avoid numbers including calories, weight, BMI, and body measurements. Eating disorders can be competitive illnesses. Those who are experiencing eating disorders may compare their own numbers and strive to match or ‘beat’ others, seeing their numbers as a failure if they are not as low as someone else’s.
  • Don’t discuss food groups. Mentioning specific ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods can be used as tips.
  • Avoid mentioning amounts eaten, as this can be seen as guidance on how to restrict food intake, and the ‘right’ amount of food to consume.
  • No images of emaciated body parts. Pictures of gaunt and skinny body parts can be used as inspiration or a target for others.
  • Focus on feelings, not behaviours. Again, detailing behaviour such as methods of purging can be interpreted as tip sharing by those vulnerable to disordered eating.

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