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Focused on educating the public about eating disorders, National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) Week is observed from February 23- 29 in the United States. The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders and improve public understanding regarding their causes, triggers and treatments to encourage early detection and intervention. Recent reports suggest that about 30 million Americans struggle with a full-blown eating disorder at some point in their lives, which is approximately 8% of the population, and equals out to 20 million women and 10 million men. Eating disorders are characterized by persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact a person’s health and his/her ability to function in important areas of life. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. These conditions can develop at any age and are more prevalent during the teen and young adult years. Without appropriate treatment, eating disorders can take over a person’s life and lead to serious, potentially fatal medical complications. Treatment typically includes nutrition education, psychotherapy, and medications. Documenting this condition requires correct recording of all the symptoms and treatments provided. Medical billing services offered by a reliable provider can help physicians ensure accurate and timely claim filing and reimbursement.

The most common eating disorders include Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and BingeEating disorders (BED), which can affect both men and women. It is estimated that Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting 3.5% of women and 2% of men. The more severe or long-lasting the eating disorder, the more likely a person is to experience serious complications. The exact causes of these disorders are not known. However, genetics, biological factors such as changes in brain chemicals, may play an active role. Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on your weight, body shape and food, leading to dangerous eating behaviors. These behaviors can significantly impact your body’s ability to get appropriate nutrition.

The 2020 NEDA week is a unique platform that aims to “improve public understanding of eating disorders and their causes, dangers, and treatments and to empower everyone to reduce risk factors and join prevention efforts.” Warning signs that may indicate an eating disorder include – switching between periods of overeating and fasting, obsession with calories and fat contents of food, excessive focus on healthy eating, excessive exercise, constant weight fluctuations, chronic dieting (despite being hazardously underweight) and adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet.

Diagnosis of eating disorders are based on the symptoms and eating habits. Physicians will perform a physical examination to analyze the medical causes related to eating issues. Psychological evaluation will also be performed to enquire about the food thoughts, feelings and eating habits. Treatment for this condition depends on the patient’s specific type of eating disorder and includes medications, encouraging healthy eating habits and psychotherapy. Physicians providing specific treatments for different types of eating disorders must report the same on their medical claims using the designated medical codes. They need to have adequate knowledge about the various codes when carrying out the billing and coding procedures. Billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing and coding companies can help in timely claim submissions for accurate reimbursement. ICD-10 codes for different types of eating disorders include –

  • F50 – Eating disorders
    • F50.0 – Anorexia nervosa
      • F50.00 – Anorexia nervosa, unspecified
      • F50.01 – Anorexia nervosa, restricting type
      • F50.02 – Anorexia nervosa, binge eating/purging type
    • F50.2 – Bulimia nervosa
    • F50.8 – Other eating disorders
      • F50.81 – Binge eating disorder
      • F50.82 – Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
      • F50.89 – Other specified eating disorder
    • F50.9 – Eating disorder, unspecified

The 2020 NEDA week puts the spotlight on inclusivity with the theme “Come as You Are: Hindsight is 20/20”. The goal is to reflect on the positive steps taken towards accepting oneself and others. The theme aims to amplify voices within marginalized communities and break down the stigma surrounding the reality of eating disorders. The week-long campaign is the perfect time for people to accept themselves and others as they break free from eating disorders, and a time to reflect upon successes and challenges along the way.

As part of the weekly observance, a wide range of events will be hosted in communities across the United States and throughout the world to generate awareness and money for the research and treatment of eating disorders. Schools, non-profit organizations, companies, media outlets, treatment centers, and others are all encouraged to participate in the event to raise awareness. Throughout the week, iconic landmarks in cities across the US will be lit in signature blue and green colors. Hashtags, #NEDAwareness & #ComeAsYouAre will be shared via different social media platforms as well.