DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - February 16, 2010) - An astonishing 40 percent of Americans have either experienced or know someone who has experienced an eating disorder, yet misperceptions about these devastating diseases are still plentiful. To build understanding and awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 21-27), Eating Recovery Center (, a licensed and Joint Commission accredited behavioral hospital providing comprehensive treatment and sustainable recovery for eating disorders, reveals five eye-opening eating disorder facts that are not widely known.

1. Eating disorders are genetic. An individual with an anorexic mother or sister is 12 times more likely to develop anorexia nervosa and four times more likely to develop bulimia nervosa. These are not disorders of choice.

2. Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness. A woman with anorexia nervosa is 5.6 times more likely to die than another woman of her same age. The most frequent causes of death from eating disorders are suicide (32%), complications associated with anorexia (19%), and cancer (11%). The average age of death for an individual with anorexia is only 34 years.

3. The circumstances that cause an eating disorder often have nothing to do with the reasons it continues. An illness, traumatic experience or diet may initiate an eating disorder. However, an individual's underlying personality traits, values and fears are what can prohibit recovery.

4. Eating disorders are not merely triggered by a desire to be thin. For instance, an individual who does not know that he or she has wheat or lactose intolerance may develop a fear of food due to the discomfort or pain it causes. Someone in chemotherapy or with a gastrointestinal disorder may stop eating to avoid nausea.

5. People can completely recover from eating disorders. Eating disorders are not addictions and do not have to lead to lifelong struggles with food. With proper treatment, individuals can completely recover from eating disorders.

"The fact is that eating disorders are complex, biologically based mental illnesses. They can arise from a variety of potential causes and affect a wide demographic of Americans," explains Kenneth L. Weiner, MD, CEDS, founding partner and medical director of Eating Recovery Center. "In our society, eating disorders carry stigmas that too often prevent people from seeking help. Awareness minimizes misconceptions and is vital to help the millions of people with eating disorders feel comfortable finding the treatment they need."

Editor: Renowned eating disorders experts and founding partners of Eating Recovery Center, Drs. Kenneth L. Weiner, CEDS, and Emmett R. Bishop, Jr., CEDS, along with patients in recovery, are available for interviews to supplement your National Eating Disorders Awareness Week stories. Contact Shannon Fern at 303.433.7020 or to arrange an interview. More eating disorder story ideas, facts and statistics are available in the Journalist's Guide for Eating Disorders,

Join Eating Recovery Center at these events during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week:

-- Body Wholeness and Eating Disorders Prevention Awareness, a community conversation about eating disorders, prevention awareness, in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Boulder, Thursday, February 18, 2010, 8:30-11 a.m., Dr. Weiner will speak at 9:15 a.m., BSVD Education Center, 6500 Arapahoe Road, Boulder.

-- Journey Conference, in conjunction with the University of Northern Colorado, to promote growth and leadership among young women, Monday, February 22, 2010, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Presentations and breakout sessions will be offered through the day; including topics such as body image and prevention of eating disorders, among others. For more information, please call Kim Wilcox at (970) 351-2496.

-- Candlelight Vigil honoring those that have been lost to eating disorders, in conjunction with The Eating Disorder Foundation, Tuesday, February 23, 2010, cocktail reception at 5 p.m., vigil to follow at 6:30 p.m., Wellshire Event Center, 3333 South Colorado Blvd., Denver.

-- Screenings of "America the Beautiful: Is America Obsessed with Beauty?" in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Northern Colorado. Boulder: Wednesday, February 24, 2010, 6 p.m., 2300 Colorado Ave., Boulder; Greeley: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 6:30 p.m., 2045 10th Ave., Greeley.

About Eating Recovery Center

Eating Recovery Center, situated at the foot of the Rockies in beautiful downtown Denver, Colorado, provides individuals 17 and older sustainable recovery from eating disorders in a warm, nurturing environment. Our comprehensive program offers patients from across the country a continuum of care that includes inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient services in a licensed and Joint Commission accredited behavioral hospital setting. Our compassionate team of professionals collaborates with treating professionals and loved ones to cultivate lasting behavioral change. For more information, please call 877- 218-1344, e-mail or chat with us confidentially at

Contact Information: Contact: Shannon Fern (o) 303-433-7020 (c) 303-667-3553 (e)