Cupids Health

Eating Disorders in the Jewish Community — BALANCE eating disorder treatment center

The rate of eating disorders within the Jewish community is alarmingly high. One study estimated the rate of eating disorders among Jewish women to be 50% higher than the general US population. Below, you’ll learn more about the ways that eating disorder recovery can align with Jewish cultural and religious practices.

Why is the Rate of Eating Disorders so High Within the Jewish Community?

Researchers are still unsure why eating disorders occur more frequently in the Jewish community than in the general population. However, one study of Canadian Jewish adolescents found that Jewish adolescents of all genders are at an increased risk of developing an eating disorder. One theory behind this increased risk is the increased pressure for Jewish adolescents and adults to fit into communities where they are a religious and/or ethnic minority. This pressure can present as a strong desire to control and/or change one’s body. 

Can I Do Eating Disorder Treatment If I Keep Kosher?

Although different treatment centers have different levels of adherence to kashrut, most treatment settings are able to provide some form of accommodation to clients who keep kosher. During your first session, you and your dietitian will have the opportunity to discuss your religious and dietary preferences. You and your team will then create a recovery plan that accommodates your religious observance. 

What About Holidays Where Food Rules Are Observed?

In the weeks leading up to the holiday, you and your recovery team will work together to brainstorm recovery-oriented ways for you to observe the holiday. These accommodations might differ based on each client’s treatment trajectory and religious observance. However, you and your treatment team will try as hard as possible to strike a balance between religious practice and the tenet of pikuach nefesh — the preservation of life that overrides all other mitzvot. 

BALANCE eating disorder treatment center’s™ clinical treatment team has extensive experience working with clients in the Jewish community. Our admissions team is happy to answer any questions about BALANCE’s programs. Read more about our philosophy here or book a free consultation call with our admissions team to discuss next steps. 

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