ST. CLOUD -- Nearly 30-million Americans will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives and local health organizations are hoping to bring awareness to this issue.

This is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The annual campaign is meant to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders and to provide hope and support to individuals and families.

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Zayda Ewing is a Physician Assistant at CentraCare. She says eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, which can make it hard to identify.

Some people struggle with the lack of insight because they don't see how severe the eating disorder is, and that's part of the disorder. So it can be really challenging to get patients to see that because they truly believe there is no issue.

The most common types of eating disorders are bulimia and anorexia.

Ewing says some warning signs of possible eating disorders is someone skipping meals, missing for long periods after a meal, or cutting out food they typically eat.

She says statistics have shown eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate.

Of all of the mental health disorders in our country, eating disorders are second most deadly, only behind deaths due to opioid addiction.

She says while there is more resources and awareness, we are still seeing a rise in the number of people diagnosed with eating disorders, especially during the pandemic.

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