Prevention

We can all help to prevent eating disorders. There are many different ways to bring about powerful and positive changes in your home, workplace, school – anywhere!

Here are a few ideas that you can use today to help prevent eating disorders:

  • Take steps to learn more about eating disorders and how to prevent them.
  • Speak out about the “thin ideal” and the negative impact it can have.
  • Be a positive role model and choose to live a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle.
  • Recognize that health and well-being comes in all shapes and sizes.
  • Become aware of the factors that can contribute to the development of eating disorders.
  • Do not engage in “fat” talk! Change the conversation or remind yourself not to use it.
  • Start to notice and to question the messaging about “beauty” and “ideal body types” that we all receive daily from the media and the people around us. Refuse to accept what the media presents as “beautiful”.
  • Talk to all people about eating disorders and unhealthy attitudes or activities.
  • Help others to develop self-esteem based on qualities other than physical appearance.
  • Get rid of your scale! Numbers can be deceiving and are only one piece of information.
  • Avoid calling a food “good” or “bad.” Food is just food.
  • Avoid terms like “junk food”. Consider “treat” or “sometimes” foods.
  • Teach others that their self-worth is not related to how they look or how they eat.
  • Get rid of your diet!
  • Criticize the culture that promotes unhealthy body image. Do not criticize yourself.
  • Be aware of advertising, toys, television shows, or even clothing store ads which only show an ‘ideal’ body shape.
  • Model positive behaviour towards eating including the social benefits of eating together, enjoyment of eating, and the excitement of trying new foods.
  • Help parents and teachers to think about their own attitudes. Their behaviour, language, eating and physical activities influence children immensely.
  • Make time and space for meals at school or the workplace. Model taking breaks to eat to those around you.
  • Empower others to feel good about themselves for who they are, not how they look.
  • Promote understanding of the natural gain in weight that happens during puberty.
  • Encourage self-awareness and critical thinking skills.
  • Provide others with alternative images of healthy bodies.
  • Help those around you to interpret and apply messaging from other areas of health, such as obesity prevention, healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Families can nurture healthy eating habits and encourage children to have positive relationships with food: From managing picky eating at mealtimes and taking the pressure off everyone, to promoting a positive body image, parents and caregivers will find practical tips and resources on the Kelty Mental Health website to eating well.

Eating Disorder Prevention: BC Organizations

See the links and resources below to learn more about BC organizations that are passionate about preventing eating disorders.

Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves! A movement by the Provincial Eating Disorders Awareness (PEDAW) campaign
Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves has activities and events that take place all year round. This is a province-wide effort to raise awareness about prevention and early intervention of eating disorders. It also focuses on building healthy body images and self- esteem and rejecting harmful messages in the media. PEDAW’s goal is to provide services, workshops, education, and support to people of all ages in BC. We encourage everyone to start discussions and activities at your school, your family or your work place. FREE resources are available to support you in participating! Please contact pedaw@familyservices.bc.ca

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Jessie’s Legacy Eating Disorders Prevention & Awareness Program
Jessie’s program provides education, resources and support to prevent eating disorders. This program supports BC youth, families, educators and professionals through online resources, live events, social media, and the Love Our Bodies, Love Ourselves movement. For more information, go to jessieslegacy.com.  

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The Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders
This caring community works to prevent eating disorders and to support those that are suffering from these devastating illnesses – and those who love them. The Looking Glass Foundation develops and supports new approaches that will fill gaps in services and create pathways between treatment options — so that those affected by eating disorders are never without support. For more information, go to lookingglassbc.com.

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Resource List

  • Eating Disorders Prevention, Early Intervention, and Peer Support in BC ( English )
  • Prevention of Eating Disorders & Health Promotion ( English )
  • Contributing Factors and Prevention ( English )
  • Tips for Kids on Eating Well and Feeling Good about Yourself ( English )
  • Healthy Bodies Healthy Minds: A Tool For Every Educator ( English )
  • Let Us Eat Cake Podcast ( English )
  • “I’m like, SO fat!”: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World ( English )
Recovery: What is recovery?

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