Mothers and daughters march to raise awareness about eating disorders in Canada

Tears flowed and sniffles were heard from mothers and daughters at Queen’s Park Tuesday morning for hours as they marched for a cause dear to their hearts.

The Oct. 27 event marked the first March Against Eating Disorders in Canada, organized by the National Initiative for Eating Disorders. The Washington-based group has been fighting since 2012 to bring awareness and solutions to sufferers in Canada.

One of the mothers shared her daughter’s story of her battle with anorexia nervosa. Her daughter was an A student, maintained a social life as a third-year student, she said.

“Eating disorders thrive on power and secrecy. We did not keep quiet in her illness,” the mom said. “The only thing more difficult than recovery is staying sick.”

Seven Ontario MPP's show their support to NIED and the Mom March against eating disorders. October 27.

Seven Ontario MPP’s show their support to NIED and the Mom March against eating disorders. October 27. (Credit: Jenna Miguel)

“People care, but they don’t understand,” said Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, who was there to support the issue.

Canadian women aged 15 to 24 years old are the most susceptible to eating disorders. Of those women, 1.5 per cent will have an eating disorder. The government of Canada estimated that 10 per cent of individuals with anorexia nervosa will die within 10 years of the onset of the disease as it has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness.

In response to these statistics, Durham MPP Granville Anderson reminded the crowd that $25 million was dedicated to treating eating disorders from the Ontario government this year in the mental health budget.

Ontario Shores, a mental health centre in Whitby, Ont., added 12 inpatient beds in last October to cut wait times and limit the distance children and adolescent sufferers need to go to receive treatment.

Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor said: “This government is letting you down. We still have a ways to go in order to get effective treatments.”

The tears in the crowd suddenly turned into cheers and applause.

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