Gov. Gary R. Herbert joins nation to declare Feb 26 – Mar 4, ‘Eating Disorders Awareness Week’ in Utah

Gov. Gary R. Herbert has designated Feb 26 – Mar 4, as Eating Disorders Awareness Week for the state of Utah.

This announcement is in support ofNational Eating Disorders Awareness Week as spearheaded by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA.) The goal of Gov. Herbert’s declaration is to increase awareness of the prevalence of eating disorders among Utahns and put life-saving resources into the hands of those in need.

Avalon Hills, a premier eating disorders treatment center in Logan, has long lobbied for more awareness around this disease, recognizing that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar disease and schizophrenia. Representatives from Avalon Hills visited the State Capitol Thursday morning to receive official documentation of the governor’s designation from Deputy Chief of Staff, Mike Mower.

According to NEDA, 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime, a mental illness predominantly experienced by young women. Seventy percent of 18-to-30-year-olds state they don’t like their bodies, and 50 percent of women claim to have used unhealthy behaviors to control their weight. Due to the large youth population in Utah, statistics point to the potential of eating disorders becoming a statewide health crisis if ignored.

“Too many people suffer from eating disorders, and it is critical that they find support early on to overcome these life-threatening conditions,” Gov. Herbert said. “This week is an opportunity to shed light on treatment options and how to recognize symptoms. Our message is that there is hope and help to connect our loved ones to the resources they need to become healthy.”

“As an organization that works with families who are devastated and heartbroken, we are eternally grateful to Governor Herbert for recognizing the importance of raising awareness around this deadly disease,” said Benita Quakenbush, Founder and CEO, Avalon Hills. “Our commitment to treat-to-outcome proves our belief that eating disorders are a mental illness that is treatable. It is intolerable to have a loved one suffer in solitude when help is available and sustainable.”


  • Each decade has seen a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 years old since 1930.
  • The incidence of bulimia in 10-39-year-old women TRIPLED between 1988 and 1993.
  • Research dollars spent on Alzheimer’s Disease averaged $88 per affected individual in 2011. For Schizophrenia the amount was $81; for Autism, $44.
  • Eating disorders received the lowest amount where the average amount of research dollars per affected individual was just $0.93.
  • Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting and taking laxatives.
  • 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills or laxatives.
  • Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet.
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.
  • One in five anorexia deaths is due to suicide.