On Saturday 20th May 2023 Hope Virgo lead the first ever eating disorders march through London. We witnessed a passionate and determined crowd march from Trafalgar Square to Westminster to catch the attention of both the public and government and demand an increase of funding to support and save the lives of those suffering from an eating disorder.

The founder of the dump the scales campaign urged those who care about the disastrous impact of eating disorders to join the event. Approximately 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder with around 25% of those affected being male. Research suggests that around 46% of anorexia patients fully recover, a 33% improving and 20% remaining chronically ill. Similar research into bulimia suggests that 45% make a full recovery, 27% improve considerably and 23% suffer chronically NHS England published its quarterly data on children and young people with an eating disorder waiting times for the first quarter 2022-23. The findings show that of the 230 children and young people currently on the waiting list for urgent treatment, 44 per cent have been waiting for more than 12 weeks.

In the states approximately 28.8 million Americans have an eating disorder, with Black, Indigenous, Latino and People of other ethnicities less likely to be asked by a doctor about eating disorder symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that average weekly emergency department visits related to eating disorders among adolescents 12 to 17 years old increased by 55% in just one year.

Meanwhile, in Australia it is estimated that over 1 million Australians have an eating disorder which is 4% of the population however, The Albanese Government has recently announced an increased grant for innovative programs to research and treat mental ill-health and eating disorders, improve services, educate health professionals and support patients, their families and carers.

Eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide and it does not discriminate. From children to adults, athletes to veterans and people from different cultures and backgrounds, there is an increased need for further support for patients, education for health professionals and further funding for research. At London’s first eating disorders march, we marched for the 9%.