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EMA Care Blog

Our Blog covers recent, relevant and helpful health and healthcare news

EMA Care Blog

Our Blog covers recent, relevant and helpful health and healthcare news

Eating Disorders during the gap year


Eating Disorders

10 million people in the U.S. have an eating disorder.  It is the third most common and chronic illness in the U.S.  More women than men suffer from this illness and while the numbers are climbing in the Jewish population, the exact number of Jewish people with eating disorders is unknown.

Most people know about two eating disorders:  anorexia and bulimia.  Not known to most people, the most common eating disorder is actually EDNOS –  or “Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”.  Here is a short description of the three:

  1. Anorexia- A disorder in which an individual refuses to maintain minimally normal body weight, intensely fears to gain weight and does not see their real body shape or size.
  2. Bulimia- A disorder in which a person binges on food followed by behavior, such as extreme exercise, purging, and the use of laxatives. All to prevent weight gain.
  3. EDNOS- This is a combination of anorexia and bulimia. A person may stop eating, then binge and purge. An individual may also binge eat, not purge, and then not eat for a day.

EMA Care wants parents, teachers, and school administrators to recognize some of the more common signs of an eating disorder:

1) Restricting food intake. This may happen at the same time that the student is cooking and baking a lot for others.

2) Misperceived body image. The student complains about being fat but looks fine.  Lots of teenagers do this routinely, and this would have to be combined with other behaviors or exaggerated perceptions.

3) Sudden weight loss.  Generally speaking, a weight loss of 10lb (4.5 kilos) is considered a danger sign for people who are not trying to lose weight.  If a student’s clothes are no longer fitting them, if they appear gaunt – it’s a sign of substantial weight loss.  Weight loss can cause hair to become dull and thin, increased acne, and generally an unhealthy appearance.

4) Reluctance to show their body.  Because of #2 & #3, students suffering from eating disorders hide their bodies by wearing baggy clothes, not showering or changing where others may see them.

5) Mouth sores and dental problems.  Acid from purging often results in these problems.

6) Depression.  Eating disorders are mental health problems, and depressive symptoms are associated with these disorders.

7)  Rituals.  People with eating disorders tend to develop rituals regarding their food, such as not letting the fork tines touch their mouths.  These teens may spend an unreasonable amount of time in the bathroom either purging or with other rituals.

8) Manipulating others.  A common theme is telling people in the lunchroom that they will eat in their dorm room, and telling people in their dorm room that they already ate, or lying about what they eat – people with eating disorders try to control their environment by manipulating those around them. If a student has some constipation medication and “runs out” because she has used it inappropriately.

 Don’t ignore the signs! Ideally, a person with an eating disorder should be treated as early as possible.  The earlier the treatment begins the easier it will be to gain control over the disorder.

Control is the keyword.  Most individuals with an eating disorder will tell you it began because they wanted to take control over their life. They wanted to be happier, prettier, better liked, and in charge.  Any type of transition, like coming to Israel, away from home for the first time, may trigger a feeling of loneliness and insecurity.  What ends up happening is the disorder takes control over their life! The eating disorder becomes an addiction.

Eating disorders are dangerous!!

In the short term, a lack of nutrition can result in low blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.  Not eating makes it more difficult for the brain to work.  People become foggy and apathetic. Eating disorders is a major reason why gap year students leave before the end of the year.

In the long term, eating disorders cause fertility problems.  A client of ours with infertility previously suffered from bulimia. 

Treatment for eating disorders involves a medical evaluation and treatment, a nutritionist, and a therapist. Without appropriate treatment, eating disorders can be fatal.

If your child has an eating disorder and is coming to Israel, even if your child has successfully completed treatment, you must alert the administration to the issue. It is in your child’s best interest to have the administration be on the lookout for a relapse. It could be the difference between life and death!

If you have concerns and would like your child to get treatment in Israel, or continue treatment that has been started, EMA Care is here for you.  We can arrange appointments with a doctor, nutritionist, and therapist. 

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My son went to Israel for a year requiring infusion every 6-8 weeks. It was very stressful at times to coordinate getting his meds sent to Israel, scheduling appointments, and having to worry about him going on his own. Then a friend told me about EMA Care. EMA Care was truly amazing.

You can speak to an American who understands your concerns and will walk you through the entire process, from dealing with insurance to making appointments, and even getting someone to escort your


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I would like to recommend Eliana (EMA care) for her sensitive and timely help for clients who are having difficulty navigating the health care system Israel, specifically for Anglos, whether new olim or those of us who been here for many years.

The obstacles of interfacing with the health care system here is daunting, especially at a time when one is going through an acute or chronic condition that is protracted and complicated. Often one doesn’t know whom to turn to or where to go,


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During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.

 After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the


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We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!

We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.

My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and


Knowledgeable, thorough, and caring

When our son was injured in a car accident during his yeshiva year in Israel, he had to start navigating the medical system on his own. But once we contacted Dr. Eliana Aaron at EMA Care (www.HealthCareIsrael.com), she immediately flew into action. Dr. Aaron accompanied our son in the ER and made sure he and we knew at every step exactly what was done and what needed to be done, especially important for someone who suffered a concussion and


Skilled and professional

I write to express my hakarat hatov (positive recognition) and my gratitude to the two health professionals from EMA Care that have been from the start professionally involved and continue to be interested in my care and long-term recovery.

After a serious fracture, I was hospitalized in the north, and my insurance company recommended EMA Care services to help me. After a surgeon was pressuring me to sign consent for surgery, I realized that I needed to remain


My Father is so Happy

It sounds like my dad has decided to hire you and I'm thrilled.
He actually seems much calmer than he has been in a long time and he is very happy with what the EMA Care staff has done so far.
You provide an amazing service and I feel very fortunate to have you on board.

G.K.  Jerusalem


“Ema Extraordinaire”

“EMA” Care is so fitting a name for Dr. Eliana Aaron’s exceptional gap year concierge health care service. Dr. Aaron is not only an incredible health care professional; she is also an “Ema Extraordinaire” in every sense of the word. My child had a range of medical needs while abroad, some anticipated and others not, and she was there for him (and me) – even in the middle of the night, -- always calm, reassuring, thinking out of the box, getting him to the appropriate medical professionals


Very Helpful

Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
Yasher koach



Delicious and Safe

Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel.  We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious.

All the best,


New Jersey


EMA Care in the News

18 June 2020
The following article was published in the English addition of Hamodia. Written by Joel Rebibo ...
14 June 2020
What will be the 'new normal' for Israel's gap year programs?According to EMA Care, an estimated 80% of programs will close down permanently if they are not able to reopen in the fall.By TZVI JOFFRE   JUNE 4, 2020 11:58  ...
07 April 2020
Dr. Eliana Aaron spoke on World Mizrachi on the recent Coronavirus outbreak.Response from World Mizrachi:Just reaching out to thank you for the talk you gave today. The feedback has been tremendous! May you continue to have the strength to  insp...

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