Health

5 Phrases to Avoid Saying to Someone With an Eating Disorder (and What to Say Instead)

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that affect a significant portion of the U.S. population.

An estimated 9 percent of Americans, or 28.8 million people, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). Anorexia nervosa, one of many types of eating disorders, has one of the highest mortality rates of any mental health condition, ANAD states.

Considering the seriousness of these conditions, it’s understandable for anyone to want to help a loved one who has an eating disorder. But with negative body talk (negative communication about one’s own body), persistent myths, and stereotypes about eating disorders being so common in society, it can be hard to know the right things to say to help.

Here are five phrases to avoid saying to someone with an eating disorder, and what to say instead to help them feel supported.

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