Today kicks off a week dedicated to an issue that affects all of us: eating disorders. That’s right, we’re all affected by eating disorders because they are a global epidemic. If you haven’t experienced an eating disorder yourself, you probably know someone, or have heard of someone who has. In fact, if you have ever had obsessive thoughts about your weight or food intake, you have experienced disordered eating. As a community, we have a responsibility to do something to help.
In order to take action toward resolving this epidemic, we need to know exactly what we’re dealing with:
-Eating disorders are classified as a mental illness in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-IV)
-The most common types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulima nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
-In a study by Harvard Medical School, 25% of participants with anorexia or bulimia were male.
-Nearly 20 million women will experience an eating disorder at some point in their life.
-An estimated 5% of the U.S. population has undiagnosed bulimia.
-Binge-eating disorder affects up to 4% of the general population*
Serious stuff, right? The perfect time to take action toward a global recovery from eating disorders is now, during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, founded by The National Eating Disorders Association. From today until March 1st, NEDAwareness Week focuses on raising awareness of the impact that eating disorders have throughout the world.
This week, take one, simple action toward raising awareness of and providing accurate information about eating disorders. You can choose from a variety of events on campus.
Love Your Genes: February 25th, 7p.m. @ the Campus Cinema
Step Off the Scale! Accepting our own beauty and strengths is a challenge for both men and women. Join us for an engaging evening with Johanna Kandell, founder of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, to learn how to combat the pressure of having the “perfect body” and how to help someone who may be experiencing an eating disorder.
Jean Swap: February 27th from 3-7p.m.@ the Student Health Center
Since February 11th, students of all shapes, sizes, and genders have donated their gently worn jeans, which will be washed, sorted, and available at the official Jean Swap. Come to Student Health and pick up a pair of jeans that make you feel great in your body.
Build-a-Wall Project: ongoing, Women’s Center and outside of Health Promotion
Ever get sick of those airbrushed, unrealistic images of women in the media? What if we changed those images into something positive? The Build-a-Wall project involves creating a collage of unrealistic, often shame-inducing images of women, then covering those images with bricks that feature a body-positive message. You can build a wall in your dorm with friends, or contribute to the ones at the Women’s Center and Health Promotion.
NC State participated in Operation Beautiful last year, and we encourage you to participate to celebrate NEDAwareness Week. The mission of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self-talk or “fat talk” through anonymous, positive notes in public places for other people to find. A Post-it note with a simple, yet powerful message of “You are beautiful” or “You are enough” posted in a public area can change someone’s entire perspective about her/himself.
In honor of the “just do one thing” philosophy of NEDAwareness Week, try leaving an anonymous, positive Post-it note in a public place. The happier we can make each other feel about ourselves, the less power eating disorders have in the world.