Benefit highlights eating disorders awareness

By Frank Lewis -

If an eating disorder has never invaded your family, chances are good that you don’t have a working knowledge of this disease that is more prevalent than you may have thought.

An eating disorder is any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa).

What may surprise you is that one-in five people between the ages of 15 and 24 with an eating disorder die as the result of starvation or suicide.

The West Portsmouth Community of Christ is inviting the public to attend an Eating Disorder Awareness Benefit supporting Tyler Peitz, a student at Northwest Middle School, in her battle against anorexia, Saturday, Feb. 20, starting at noon at the West Portsmouth Youth Complex, 1420 13th Street in West Portsmouth.

The event will include a raffle and refreshments.

One of the people involved in the program is Tyler Peitz’s grandmother, Vicki Crabtree.

“My granddaughter has been struggling with an eating disorder for almost two years. She’s only 13,” Crabtree said. “As we have struggled with this journey we have found that not only the general public, educators, even pediatricians, nurses, people that do not specialize in actual eating disorders are just totally unaware of the symptoms and the causes. We’re just trying to bring awareness of the diseases.”

Crabtree said there are many people suffering from eating disorders who are not being helped. Now Crabtree is working with Jessica Priode, a psychologist at Shawnee State University. She is also planning to meet with the guidance counselors at Scioto County schools.

“We have put together a little pamphlet to hand people,” Crabtree said. “It tells about the website for the National Eating Disorder Awarness (NEDA) Association. It gives them a link to go on to screen themselves if they think they may have one (eating disorder). It gives them a hotline number to call. It gives them some symptoms to look for. It tells about Tyler’s story.”

Crabtree said they also ahve “Tuler Tuff” shirts available at Northwest schools.

“We’re going to have all the kids that buy a shirt and all the adults that buy one have their picture taken,” Crabtree said. ‘We want to put that in the paper.”

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is Feb. 21-27. Their theme is – Get help, Get healthy, and get involved. Information is available at

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.