A thousand marchers bring eating disorder awareness and support to Chicago

People pose for a picture at the NEDA walk.
Participants pose for a picture at the NEDA walk. Colleen Zewe/MEDILL

By Colleen Zewe
Medill Reports

Despite the brisk October weather, Sami Mikret and her family spent Sunday morning marching along Diversey Harbor to celebrate her completion of eating disorder treatment and show others that recovery is possible.

They weren’t alone. More than 1,000 people participated in Chicago’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Walk, making it the largest NEDA walk Chicago has ever hosted.

Since 2009, NEDA walks have aimed to fund eating disorder research, education, prevention and advocacy initiatives.  Chicago’s 2018 walk raised more than $47,000, and NEDA plans walks in 90 total cities each year.

According to NEDA, 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia, which is an obsession with healthy eating, and other specified feeding or eating disorders, a diagnosis given to those who do not fit other diagnoses but still struggle with eating.The participants at the event came from all walks of life, reflecting the diversity of the condition. People of all ages, races, genders and body types can develop eating disorders, despite stigma that they mainly impact teenage girls.

Click on any image for a slideshow of the march.
Photo at top: Participants pose for a picture at the NEDA walk. (Colleen Zewe/MEDILL)