Health Library

Reducing Your Risk of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are complex. They involve a person's environment, friends, and family. Having healthy attitudes towards weight and food are important. They can help reduce the risk of eating disorders.

Some things that can help reduce the risk are:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and body image.
  • Having a rational approach to food and exercise.
  • Seeking help if needed.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight and Body Image

Reaching and keeping a healthy weight can help body image. The focus needs to be on healthy habits rather than dieting. Families can help by having healthful meals together. They can also discourage teasing about weight. It is also important to question myths and media images about weight. These images are not realistic and are designed to sell products.

Having a Rational Approach to Food and Exercise

Dieting usually does not keep weight off for long. Many diets are also not healthful. They can contribute to unhealthy attitudes toward food. There is a more healthful way to reach and keep a healthy weight. It includes a food plan rich in nutrients. It limits high fat foods, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. A healthful diet is rich in whole grains , fruits, vegetables , and lean protein . A dietitian can help with meal planning.

Regular physical activity helps with weight control. About 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity is advised, 3 to 5 days a week.

Seeking Help If Needed

Eating problems should be treated as soon as possible. Here are some signs that a person need to see the doctor:

  • Loss of control over eating
  • Obsession with being thin and losing weight
  • Anxiety that happens most days for at least 6 months.
  • Sad, empty, or depressed feelings that last at least 2 weeks

Treating mental health problems can help reduce the risk for more problems.


Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 5, 2022.

Binge eating disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 5, 2022.

Bulimia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed April 5, 2022.

McLean SA, Paxton SJ. Body Image in the context of eating disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2019;42(1):145-156.

Prevention strategies. PBS website. Available at: Accessed April 5, 2022.