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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It’s that time of the year for families to get together and look forward to eating a filling meal and deserts. 

But unfortunately, all the food can also cause tremendous anxiety for those with an eating disorder. You may be surprised that its the most common disorder among people but its also the least talked about. Studies show that eating disorders effects millions of people, primarily woman and young girls across the country. 

“There’s a stigma with eating disorders and they are very, very serious. They can lead to death. I think parents just think sometimes, ‘oh not my daughter, says Linda Steakley, Dietician for the Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center.

An eating disorder encompasses a wide range of behaviors. Most notably anorexia and bulimia. Dr. Linda Steakley of Huntsville Hospital Wellness Center says the longer the eating disorder goes on, the harder it will be to treat. 

“But we also treat woman with eating disorders at 45 and 60 years of age. And they are very difficult.” 

Dr. Steakley says the best prevention during the eating season is intervention. Today, the Huntsville Hospital Foundation announced the opening of the Becky Streetman Center for the Treatment of eating Disorders.  The center is named after a woman who died at the age of 29 due to medical complications from anorexia. The center will be a much-needed space for Dr. Steakley to treat her patients through counseling and coaching. 

“Counseling is very important. It’s not just about nutrition,” Steakley adds.

Dr. Steakley says that loved ones should refrain from talking about diets, weight loss or weight gain during the eating season. It may cause great anxiety and may increase a need to engage in eating disorder behavior.