National Eating Disorders Association Asks NYC a Tough Question: Do you think I’m fat?

24th Annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 20-26

Online PR News – 15-February-2011 – – SEATTLE — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is running a provocative, video public service announcement (PSA) in rotation this week on one of the massive video screens in Times Square during New York’s Fashion Week. The PSA is titled Do You Think I’m Fat? and features children directly asking the question – and other questions related to self-esteem – to the camera.

Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, commented, “While it is disturbing to see children concerned with their weight, it is reality, especially as the notion that ‘skinny equals beauty’ grows daily from advertising media. I have seen 10-year-old children on feeding tubes and they all started with an unnecessary diet. It is time to address societal pressures and the unrealistic ‘ideal’ body images we are bombarding our children with at young ages that absolutely have an impact on self-esteem and dangerous eating habits, all in an effort to be skinny.

“It is no accident that we have chosen to run this message during New York’s Fashion Week,” continues Grefe, “an industry known for significant pressures for models to be skinny in order to keep their careers. Among children, the drive for skinny creates not only self assessment, possible low self- esteem and confusion, but often dangerous dieting behaviors that, for some, can lead to potentially life-threatening eating disorders. We should be measured by the size of our hearts, not our hips. Together, as a society, we really could try harder to steer our kids focus towards being healthy and personal accomplishment, instead of a number on a scale. We invite a public dialogue on this, because people are literally dying to be thin.”

As many as 10 million females and 1 million males in the U.S. are battling eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Approximately 15 million more are struggling with binge eating disorder. Millions practice disordered eating due to an obsession with dieting. The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can occur as young as kindergarten. Eighty percent of all 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. There has been a rise in the incidence of anorexia in young women ages 15-19 in each decade since 1930. Nearly half of all women across the country are dieting on any given day. The history of dieting – now a $40 billion-a-year industry – can be traced to the 1800s, kicking into high (and irreversible) gear in the ’50s.

Many studies have examined the role of media in perpetuating the message that thin = good, including one that followed adolescent girls on the island of Fiji before and after the introduction of television in the mid ’90s. Researchers found a direct correlation to girls’ interest in dieting after exposure to western pro-thin messages and Hollywood celebrities.

As Fashion Week wraps up, NEDA is gearing up for its 24th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 20-26. NEDA is once again waging war in communities across the country against eating disorders (EDs) and unrealistic “body-perfect” ideals – as well as fighting for more research, support and access to treatment for these life-threatening illnesses.

NEDAwareness Week 2011 is already generating interest nationwide, with volunteers coordinating events throughout the country using their local media muscle to spread the word about eating disorders. During this week, hundreds of events will be held in communities coast to coast, offering an opportunity for people to gather information and learn how to support those with eating disorders. Opportunities are still available to distribute materials, purchase kits or to register to “do just one thing” to support this national movement.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in Seattle, Wash., is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit

For Treatment Referrals, Visit
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (PST)

Greenleaf & Associates — 323-660-5800
Vicki Greenleaf —
Karen Brundage —