Best of 2012: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Eating Issues

Eating-DisordersWith the highest mortality rate of any mental health issue, eating disorders—anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are recognized as such, and thus diagnosable, in the mental health field—affect up to 24 million people in the United States alone.

But the impact of eating and food issues extends far beyond what people consume (or don’t consume). About half of all people diagnosed with an eating disorder also meet the diagnostic criteria for depression. Self-esteem and body-image issues also are common among men and women alike with eating issues, although women and girls are far more likely to develop them.

Women and girls, especially, are relentlessly targeted in the media and in advertising with unrealistic or even unnatural images and ideals, fueling a $40 billion-a-year dieting industry that rarely results in sustained success. The average height and weight of an American woman is 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds. Female fashion model? Try 5-foot-11 and 110 pounds. About 95% of dieters regain any lost weight within five years, and an estimated 35% of “normal” dieters progress to pathological dieting. Of those, as many as 25% advance to full-blown “disorders” as defined by mental health’s guiding force, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Only 5% to 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male. Men and boys, however, are less likely to seek treatment, in part because of stigma.

As with our previous top 10 lists (including anxiety websites, relationships and marriage websites, depression websites, ADHD websites, and grief and loss websites), we selected the 10 best resources on the web for 2012 related to eating issues—GoodTherapy.org excluded. Among the criteria we used to select our top 10 websites are quality and depth of content, presentation, and functionality.

  • National Eating Disorders Association: The nonprofit National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is an excellent resource for people struggling with an eating issue or who care about someone who does. NEDA offers an information and referral helpline to direct people to treatment and support groups while also offering comprehensive information on understanding eating issues.
  • Proud2BeMe.org: A product of the National Eating Disorders Association and designed to be a resource for teens by teens, Proud2BeMe.org is an interactive social community that encourages healthy attitudes about food, weight, and body image. Visitors can access a chat forum as well as expert information and advice with a teen-friendly, pop-culture twist.
  • The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness: The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness works to empower individuals struggling with various eating issues by promoting education and awareness. Through nationwide programs and services, The Alliance sends an important message that recovery from eating issues is possible with the right support and resources. Quality information on eating issues, relevant news, and resources for getting help are offered.
  • Something Fishy: An award-winning site with comprehensive information regarding eating issues, Something Fishy offers a broad view of the effects eating issues have, from cultural concerns to associated dangers and recovery options. Interactive online recovery resources, forums, and bulletin boards provide support for people struggling with food issues. Visitors can access a treatment finder and informational section about helping loved ones in addition to up-to-date news and information.
  • About-Face: A nonprofit dedicated to changing the way the media influence self-image, About-Face works to empower women and girls to resist unhealthy messages that can negatively affect self-esteem and body image. By offering educational workshops, speaking engagements, and in-depth information about the effect of media messages, About-Face encourages the attitude that health and beauty comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
  • Eating Disorders Anonymous: Eating Disorders Anonymous is a valuable resource for peer support when coping with an eating issue. Membership is free, and encourages individuals to identify and conquer goals and milestones in recovery. Resources for reading, online and in-person recovery “meetings,” and real-life stories are available for members to promote self-care and empowerment.
  • National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, Inc.: The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders works to fill the informational gender gap by promoting research and prevention directed exclusively toward males with eating issues. Visitors can find information about athlete-specific issues, compulsive exercise, and common symptoms and methods of treatment for eating issues.
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: A not-for-profit clearinghouse of information on eating issues, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders promotes healthy body image, provides up-to-date news and information, and offers a wealth of resources for getting help. Site visitors can connect via a forum, sign up for a newsletter, and access a support group directory.
  • Beat: A United Kingdom-based nonprofit that promotes advocacy and raises funds to help eradicate eating issues, Beat challenges the stigma that often surrounds eating issues. It also provides encouragement and support to those seeking help. Site visitors can find a wealth of information regarding eating issues in addition to online and in-person support groups, message boards, and stories of recovery.
  • The Eating Disorder Foundation: The Eating Disorder Foundation is a volunteer-run organization that aims to support people seeking help for eating issues while striving to change public misconceptions. The EDF works with individuals to explore treatment options and give support, from treatment to recovery. It offers a treatment directory, support center, and library of information about eating issues.

GoodTherapy.org welcomes your nominations for its Top 10 awards. Go here.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

  • 9 comments
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  • lucy

    February 1st, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I hope these statistics and other awareness material open the eyes of all those chasing this at perfect body.Its not your weight that matter,what matters is how healthy you are.Everybody’s body is different and being comfortable in your own skin is a feeling that is unmatched with any diet out there.I hope at least some people get a hold on these sources and they are positively impacted.

  • AmH

    February 2nd, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    I am so happy to see this because I have been having some concerns about my own daughter but have not known how to broach the subject with her and how to approach it. I am sure that some of these are sites that will speak to me but hopefully some of them will speak to her too and if there is a problem, we can both recognize it and confront it together as a team

  • Katy Davis

    February 2nd, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    Please don’t take this the wrong waay when I say this because I do think that these sites like this will have a great deal of useful information for many people, I just happen to think that there are so many other images out there that young girls especially will have a very hard time getting past those expectations of what they think a girl should look like long before they find help on websites such as these. from TV shows to magazine covers all they see is one type of girl and rarely does that fit with what they see when they look at themselves in the mirror. And I don’t think that most people will come looking for help until it is too late and there is already a full blown problem. So what about some websites that encourage healthy living and attitudes about oneself from the get go, before it becomes an issue, and before eating disorders have to ruin the lives of more of our promising young women?

  • heidi o

    February 3rd, 2013 at 6:02 AM

    have really enjoyed these top 10 lists that you have put out this year. . . hope that it is a feature that you will continue throughout the rest of the year or will at least make it something that readers can look forward to at the beginning of each new year

  • Chris

    February 3rd, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    If so many people with eating issues have other issues that could well be the trigger, then wouldn’t seeking help for these other issues in time prevent or reduce eating issues from developing in the first place? Because although I’m tempted to say why don’t these people just watch what they eat I think the issue goes deeper than that. Its what’s in their mind and mind state. So if that is helped with then eating issues may not crop up at all! What do the experts have to say?

  • Gerry R

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:54 AM

    I really had no idea that this spectrum of mental health disorders was more deadly than others.
    I kind of think that it must go unseen by most of us.

  • marilee

    February 4th, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    took me quite sometime to realize my depression was making me eat in an uncontrolled fashion.but thankfully it was not too late.got treated for both the problems with excellent results.I think a lot of people are late to identify that one problem is creating another and it then becomes a web that is so hard to escape.so watch what you eat and fully experience everything you do.that way you are aware of yourself. and that is the key to a healthy living.

  • LINDA

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    With so many sites out there it come sometimes become hard to choose one or two or even know if the information contained is right.this sort of a verified list bodes well for those of us that want to be assured of the content and quality.thank you for this wonderful share goodtherapy.

  • Mickey

    February 5th, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    as depression and eating issues seem to go hand in hand, it is my hope that we will begin to find more clinicians willing to treat both things together rather than as separate issues- one feeds the other in many people so to speak

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