Over a million people in the UK have an eating disorder. However, figures from the charity
Beat show that it takes 85 weeks from the moment that someone realises they have an
eating disorder, until treatment starts.
There are now calls growing across the country to change this. A petition started by
campaigner Hope Virgo to #DumpTheScales has gathered almost 65,000 signatures. The
campaign started based on Hope’s experience of being told she wasn’t thin enough when
spoke about her problems with her GP.
The campaign has now reached Westminster, with a motion tabled by Lib Dem MP Wera
Hobhouse setting out how to enable the NHS to treat eating disorders more successfully.
Labour MP Chris Evans has sponsored the motion, and in doing so backed a better future
for people with eating disorders.
This week the Islwyn MP met with campaigner Hope Virgo to express his full support for her
#dumpthescalescampaign. This comes after the Mr Evans admitted his own struggles with body
dysmorphia in a recent Westminster hall debate. After his meeting with Hope Virgo,
Mr Evans said ‘The dump the scales campaign has highlighted a real issue.
‘It is often an extremely difficult step for someone to go to their doctor and acknowledge
they are struggling with an eating disorder. When a person has been brave enough to tell a
medical professional, they are struggling with an eating disorder they should never be turned away
‘Eating disorders are too complex to be boiled down to numbers on scales. A complete lack of
understanding is to blame when people assume someone’s weight must be below a certain point
for them to have an eating disorder.’
Hope Virgo said: “I am so excited that we have cross party support coming forward to raise
awareness of eating disorders. I never thought that this would happen when I launched my
campaign #Dumpthescales a few months ago.”
“People with eating disorders are getting an unfair deal in society. It is not right that people
are turned away from support because of their BMI. This was devastating to me when I
relapsed from anorexia and it happens every day to thousands of people, leaving them
feeling suicidal, alone and without help. It isn’t right that we live in a society which is so
fixated on weight and BMI. Eating disorders are not about weight and therefore should not
be judged on this.”