Eating disorders are defined as psychological illnesses that involve dangerous or unhealthy eating habits and behaviors that significantly interfere with physical, psychological and social functioning Eating disorders are complex, and arise from a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. Eating disorders are more common among women than men and range in severity from anorexia nervosa to binge eating disorder.
Media plays a powerful and influential role in shaping our culture’s attitude toward food and body image. Media messages can contribute to the development of unhealthy eating habits and body image concerns in individuals and can even play a role in the development of eating disorders. By creating awareness and understanding of eating disorders, media posters can help to reduce the stigma and social pressure associated with them.
The following are five examples of media posters that accurately portray eating disorders:
1. “Just Stop” by The National Eating Disorders Association: This poster features a young female with her head down and her hands covering her face. The caption reads: “Just Stop. Eating disorders are real, serious, and treatable.” This poster is powerful in its directness and encourages individuals to seek support and treatment for eating disorders.
2. “Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating: A Serious Health Problem” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: This poster features a young woman standing in a bright light. The caption reads: “Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating: A Serious Health Problem. Get help now.” This poster is effective in its emphasis on seeking help for eating disorders and its use of the CDC’s trusted brand.
3. “The Middle Path” by National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: This poster features a young woman walking in an open field with her arms outstretched and the caption reads: “The Middle Path. Finding balance and recovery from Eating Disorders.” This poster emphasizes the importance of seeking balance in life and encourages individuals to seek treatment for eating disorders.
4. “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” by National Alliance on Mental Illness: This poster features an open book with the caption: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. Recognize eating disorders.” This poster encourages individuals not to judge the outward appearance of individuals with eating disorders and to instead recognize their struggles.
5. “Make Food Your Friend” by the American Dietetic Association: This poster features a young woman smiling and the caption reads: “Make food your friend. You are worth the effort.” This poster emphasizes the importance of making healthy food choices and encourages individuals to seek help for eating disorders.
By creating media posters that accurately portray eating disorders, we can help individuals who may be struggling with disordered eating behaviors to feel seen and understood, and to be encouraged to seek help and treatment. Such posters can also help to reduce the stigma of eating disorders and create a culture of understanding and support.