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TEDx Transcript: Dr. Laura Hill on Eating Disorders from the Inside Out

Laura Hill at TEDxColumbus

Dr. Laura Hill, CEO of The Center for Balanced Living discusses Eating Disorders from the Inside Out at TEDxColumbus. The following is the transcript of the TEDx Talk.

Dr. Laura Hill – CEO, The Center for Balanced Living

Food is as fundamental — the most fundamental source of energy. It is the source of energy for us to have our strength in daily living, and it is the centerpiece around which we establish a sense of joy, communication, celebration. It’s the way we socialize. We socialize around food.

But then, what about those who might have a reaction to food? And then, there are those, for example, with type 1 diabetes. With type 1 diabetes, a person cannot eat sugar in the same way as those who don’t. The pancreas literally breaks down, and cannot accompany the sugar into the cells, and so the body starves.

So, when you think of diabetes, how do you think of diabetes: as a social illness, say, psychological illness or a biological illness? How many would say biological? That’s the way the majority of us think of it, because we know that’s the predominant cause of the illness.

But when you think of eating disorders, do you think of eating disorders as a social, psychological, or biological illness? It’s that eating disorders may be psychological and social as well, but there is a serious biological basis to this illness, and it’s a brain basis. Instead of the pancreas breaking down, what we are now knowing is that there are pathways in the brain that are not functioning in the same way as those who don’t have an eating disorder.

I’m going to focus today on anorexia and what we know from the inside out. And what I want you to know from all the areas of eating disorders, there are about 10 million persons in the United States with anorexia and bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, and millions more with binge eating disorder and other variations of those disorders.

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