International Youth Day 2023

On International Youth Day 2023, EDFA encourages greater awareness of the difficulties our youth are facing in this ever-changing world, particularly the prevalence of disordered eating and eating disorders amongst our youth.

According to a 2023 systematic review, one in three girls and one in five boys experience disordered eating across the world. (Journal of the American Medical Association).

International Youth Day

Research shows adolescents are at greatest risk of developing an eating disorder, with the average age of onset between 12 and 25 years.

These issues are complex and concerning. They warrant ongoing attention and intervention from a collaboration between healthcare professionals, educators, parents, carers, and governments alike.

Eating disorders (EDs) are serious biopsychosocial mental health conditions. Of all those with eating disorders, Binge Eating Disorder is the most common at 47%. Bulimia Nervosa is next at 12% followed by Anorexia Nervosa, which accounts for 4% . Other eating disorders include Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and Other Specified Feeding & Eating Disorders (OSFED).

Eating disorders have the highest mortality of all mental illnesses and the highest disease burden (impact of living with a specified disease), compared with all other mental health conditions. 

The impact that eating disorders have are rife and widespread. They cause significant distress, touching every aspect of a person’s life. Family, loved ones and carers typically experience their own negative impacts as they are the frontline of care. They play a pivotal role in the recovery journey, providing strength and advocacy to empower their loved ones. EDFA is here to provide support to your whole family, so that you can be the best support for your loved one.

Recently, EDFA conducted a carer survey to learn more about our community. From 216 participants we found that 89% of carers felt their wellbeing has been impacted or significantly impacted as a result of their caring duties.

Many of our carers said they were experiencing feelings of isolation, were increasingly overwhelmed, and were turning to harmful ways of coping. The majority of those surveyed were carers supporting a young person.

International Youth Day is a day for us to acknowledge the needs and affairs that affect our youth, as well as the ripple effect on families.

At EDFA, we believe recovery is possible. For everybody. When carers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to better understand eating disorders, our youth have the best chance of regaining a full and meaningful life.

Every young person’s experience of disordered eating or eating disorders is unique and different. This means that there is not one correct way to provide assistance. Tailoring approaches to best fit where your loved one is at on their recovery journey is essential for creating effective and lasting change.
By fostering empathy, understanding, and open dialogue, we can pave the way for a healthier and more inclusive future for our young generations.

EDFA is the only national eating disorder organisation that focuses solely on supporting families and carers of people with eating disorders. A lived-experience organisation, EDFA was created by families and carers for families and carers.

We provide carers with education, support, skills and understanding to better equip them to care for their loved ones.

EDFA is the only national organisation providing support, education, and advocacy services solely to carers and families of those with an eating disorder. 

Are you an EDFA member? Become a member today and receive access to a wide range of resources, over 160 hours of EDucation webinars, and more.

Join EDFA’s free Facebook Forum

Join our private EDFA Facebook forum for parents, guardians, partners, adult siblings, extended family members or friends (residing in Australia) who care for or support an individual living with an eating disorder. We share hope and optimism that recovery is possible, and through our supportive community, carers feel less alone.

Blog written by EDFA Volunteer Karina Smith