My Story: Talking About Eating Disorders in Health Class

By Anne Dufault —

LS highlights the flaws in her health classes. She remembers being told about the signs of eating disorders but not being given any strategies to address them.


OBOS Today: My middle and high school health education classes like they kind of talked about eating disorders, and I was wondering if like they talked about that in your I guess like in any school classes and like your thoughts on like whether they did like a good job with that.

LS: Um, I think they talked about it but definitely they did not do a good job, which I feel like most health classes don’t do a good job of most things. But I think that the way it was like portrayed was that first of all like eating disorders and disordered eating could only happen to, like you could only see it in very skinny people and for fat people like it’s just losing weight and it’s healthy no matter the way. So that first of all is like a horrible thing to tell anyone, especially people in their adolescence.

And I think that, it also, like they didn’t talk about kind of how like—why people have eating disorders or how they develop or what different factors might be. They just kind of said like, “Oh here’s a sign that you have an eating disorder” without explaining anything, so it just was kind of like—oh if, you know I don’t know I don’t, there’s like, I don’t even remember the examples they would give—but they never really explained anything further than, “If someone’s really skinny look for that or if someone if you notice your friend going to the bathroom all the time, look for that.” So, it kind of just became like, well maybe I can see that me or someone I know might have an eating disorder, but how would I even talk to them about it, how would I talk to myself about it, how would I talk to my parents about it. Like there was no strategies and actually thinking about disordered eating in a real way, just kind of noticing like very vague signs that kind of they only applied to skinny people.