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DENVER - It's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Colorado has the fifth highest rate of adolescent eating disorders in the U.S.
Robyn Cruze is the National Recovery Advocate for the Eating Recovery Center in Denver. She said the vicious cycle of starving, binging and purging was triggered by childhood trauma.
"That was my persona case," said Cruze. "My mom was diagnosed with lupus. I began to control my body in an attempt to control the world."
Doctor Ken Weiner is the CEO and founder of the Eating Recovery Center. He said eating disorders. like anorexia and nervosa, are mental illnesses and as inheritable as schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.
"50 to 70 percent of the risk is genetic or biologic. The other 30 to 50 percent is psycho-social," said Dr. Weiner.
Colorado is one of the fittest states, but with that comes added risk of over exercise.
"We're seeing more and more problems. Anorexia, while genetic, is triggered by dieting behavior or compulsive over exercise," said Dr. Weiner.
Physicians and advocates are working together and hope to convince those who are fighting their food, that recovery is possible.
"Some will say that it's always with you and I really want to say that hasn't been my case," said Cruze. "I believe that I'm fully recovered from the eating disorder. It didn't happen straight away. It was a very long process."
Women ages 13 to 35 are at the highest risk. About 90 percent of those who develop an eating disorder, do so between the ages of 12 to 15 years of age.