North Kirklees needs to step-up its fight against anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.
That’s the message from local support group Families of Eating Disorder Sufferers (FEDS), who helped kick-start a national campaign called Sock it to Eating Disorders.
Members donned their silliest socks and ran a cake stall last week to mark national eating disorders awareness week.
FEDS claimed that conditions such as binge-eating, which affects more than 1.6 million people in the UK, are still viewed as taboo.
Group leader Ouadia Lewis, who is an accident and emergency nurse at Dewsbury and District Hospital, has witnessed the consequences first hand of eating disorders.
Her daughter has lived with anorexia nervosa for three years and been hospitalised six times.
Mrs Lewis said: “It affects everyone in our family. Our daughter is typical of many anorexia sufferers in that she has high aspirations but low self-esteem.”
FEDS meet once at month at Huddersfield University and provide supports for families throughout Kirklees.
Mrs Lewis said: “People are dying from eating disorders and we need to prevent this and raise awareness.
“When sufferers go into some hospitals, they are still just told to eat more. It is not that simple. Eating disorders are psychological and associated with a phobia of food.”
The Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust also backed the campaign, which aims to fund research and pay for help lines for sufferers.
FEDS organiser Cherie Hinchcliffe said: “Sufferers are as young as seven and can be female or male. With boys it can be more worrying because physically they are able to hide eating disorders better.”
Volunteers raised £250 from their stall held at Dewsbury Hospital.
Visit www.fedskirklees.org and www.b-eat.co.uk.