You likely know someone with an eating disorder

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - You may not know it, but it's very likely you know someone with an eating disorder.

It's believed more than 150,000 South Carolinians deal with eating disorders.So it's time to walk for them.

Karen McMullen is the organizer of the South Carolina National Eating Disorders Association Walk. And Dr. Rhea Merck is a psychologist in Columbia with a specialty in treating those with eating disorders.

They, along with countless others, are encouraging you to be more aware of the prevalence of eating disorders by participating in the upcoming NEDA Walk in Columbia.

Here are some facts about eating disorders.

  • Twenty million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.
  • Some children as young as seven years old are now being affected.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.
  • Half of teen girls and 1/3 of teen boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors.
  • Dieting and body dissatisfaction are among the greatest risk factors for developing eating disorders.
  • Eating disorders don't discriminate. They affect all ethnic, social and economic groups at similar rates.

The NEDA Walks are hosted by the National Eating Disorders Association and are used to inspire community-building, eating disorders awareness, and activism. Since 2009, NEDA Walks have raised more than $6.7 million to support NEDA's lifesaving programs and services that advocate for and provide support to the millions of individuals and families affected by eating disorders.

NEDA Walks are currently held in over 70 locations across the country.

Everyone is invited to participate in this year's South Carolina NEDA Walk. It's Saturday, February 17.

Check-in is at 10am and the ceremony starts at 11 with the walk following.

Meet at USC's Russell House on Green Street.

You can park for free in the Bull Street Parking Garage. Register at

For a list of programs available to help those with eating disorders, visit

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