Written By: Ashley Triehy-Kreitler, APRN, FNP-BC 

World Health Day is celebrated every year on April 7th. It was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948 to spread awareness about health and diseases. This year’s theme is “Our planet, our health”. This means focusing on air pollution, use of fossil fuels, disease prevention, increase in chronic conditions as well as the strain the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in today’s economy.  It is important for us, as humans, to focus on our well-being physically, mentally and environmentally.  

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic prevention, treatment and social isolation the rate of mental health disorders amongst the general population has increased. The World Health Organization found that while the importance of scientific research for the treatment of COVID-19 was immensely important, it also highlighted many areas of disparities preventing a society from achieving an overall societal well-being. One of the areas that was highlighted within the United States was the mental health crisis. 

All conditions that are considered mental health disorders are important to treat. Among those disorders, eating disorders are just as important to look at as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. Eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, PICA, Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder are sometimes overlooked and may not be easily identified during primary care visits.  

The health risks that are associated with eating disorders can vary widely but include heart failure, kidney injury, electrolyte imbalances, intestinal obstruction, memory issues as well as hormonal imbalances. Medical and therapeutic treatments are important to provide the individual with the best care possible. In spreading awareness of signs and symptoms associated with eating disorders we can improve the overall well-being of the person, as well as improving the overall mental health well-being of the society. 

More information regarding World Health Day for the year 2022 can be found at: World Health Day 2022 (who.int)