Latest news | 02 Jun 2019

Butterfly joins in the global call ‘Eating Disorders Can’t Afford to Wait’


2 June 2019  Butterfly is asking all of Australia to #ShowUsYourPurple in support of the two million cares of people living with an eating disorder, for this year’s World Eating Disorders Action Day (WEDAD) on Sunday 2 June 2019.

Eating disorders affect up to 70 million people globally with one the highest mortality rates of any mental illness, yet, despite new research and methods showing positive results for full recovery, many go untreated. With the global rate of eating disorders doubling in prevalence from 3.5% to 7.8% between 2000-20181, Butterfly is addressing the links between eating disorders and the need to provide support for carers as well.

Butterfly Foundation CEO, Kevin Barrow said, “Eating disorders enter every aspect of a carer’s life and the home they live in. When an eating disorder enters a home, it consumes every aspect of the lives of the people in the home.”

“In Australia alone, the current prevalence for eating disorders is 4% of Australia’s population, highlighting the critical need for us to continue to act now and not delay.”

“With one million Australians living with an eating disorder today, there are approximately two million carers who support and look after their daily needs, often to the detriment of their own mental health and wellbeing,” said Mr. Barrow.

Butterfly Foundation is extending its MAYDAYS2019 – Carers Need Care Too! campaign into June to include World Eating Disorders Action Day 2019 on Sunday 2 June, to spotlight the urgency for a global and local response to the needs of carers caring for people with an eating disorder.

Over the past 18 months Australia has seen a significant recognition and investment in the eating disorders treatment and support, research and system reform. This investment has begun a necessary journey where eating disorders diagnosis, treatment and recovery is on par with all other mental and physical illnesses.

“We are committed to coordinating a network of national carer support groups, recognising that carers value coming together regularly to support each other in easily accessible locations, supported by trained counsellors. This is a direct response to the research we conducted with carers, who identified the value of help seeking, and the difficulty in accessing support in rural and remote areas” said Mr Barrow.

Eating disorders are typically thought to be an illness experienced in Western countries, yet there is now a serious prevalence in Asia and the developing Middle Eastern countries, with the gender ratio increasing for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

On Sunday 2 June WEDAD provides a unified global moment for the voices of those with lived experience of an eating disorder, their families and carers, and the medical and health professionals who support them, to call for action and change.

1 Prevalence of eating disorders over the 2000–2018 period: a systematic literature review Marie Galmiche Pierre Déchelotte Grégory Lambert Marie Pierre Tavolacci
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 109, Issue 5, May 2019, Pages 1402–1413, Published: 26 April 2019

2 Paying the Price – Socio Economic cost of Eating Disorders in Australia – 2012 – Deloitte Access Economics – Butterfly Foundation.


NOTE TO ALL EDITORS AND PRODUCERS – Please refer to the Mindframe Guidelines for reporting of eating disorders. Please include help seeking advice in all media coverage.

Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image issues is encouraged to contact Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 or

For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14

Media Contact:
Elaine Banoub
0412 273 673  |

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