More needs to be done for those with eating disorders

Date: Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Sir, Although Cumbria County Council, together with the six district councils and CALC, on behalf of parish councils, adopted a healthy weight declaration earlier this year, it does not go far enough.

It deals exclusively with the problem of obesity, i.e. being overweight, but makes no mention of people who are underweight as a result of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

The fact is that almost 1.5 million people — mainly, but not exclusively, adolescent girls and young women — suffer from eating disorders which are responsible for more loss of life than any other psychiatric disorder.

In my opinion we need a much more balanced and open debate in Cumbria.

Obesity is clearly an important issue, but we don’t want to focus on that at the exclusion of all the other factors associated with healthy weight.

If eating healthily were simply a matter of education and information we would all be a healthy weight, but its not that simple. Eating disorders are a scourge and they blight the lives of many people. They often go unrecognised and unseen.

Those who suffer from them are usually too embarrassed and ashamed to seek help.

Cumbria is about to introduce a new community eating disorder service for the 0-24 age group which takes into account many of these problems. The service represents a significant step in the right direction and deserves our support. Yours etc,

PHIL DEW

(Cumbria county councillor for Kirkby Stephen)

By email