Come as You Are: National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

At least 30 million Americans have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or a binge eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action states that someone dies every 62 minutes as a direct result from an eating disorder.

Eating disorders can affect anyone — it doesn’t matter what your gender, age or ethnicity is. But a study found that eating disorders have increased on college campuses.

A 2011 study titled, “Disordered Eating and the Use of Unhealthy Weight Control Methods in College Students: 1995, 2002, and 2008” found that eating disorders have increased on college campuses from 7.9% to 25% for men and from 23.4% to 32.6% for women over a 13-year period.

College is a time where students are experiencing extreme adjustments, new social situations and new relationships.

“College is a period of development in which disordered eating is likely to arise, resurface, or worsen for many young men and women,” Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, said in an interview with Healthline.

Additionally, social media and media itself can contribute to the development of eating disorders.

According to research in the Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Review in February 2004, the media can influence people’s body dissatisfaction, and it can give a people poor self-esteem due to comparing themselves to others. 

Yes, we all know that scrolling through Instagram or other social media platforms can contribute to a poor self-image, but the people who are posting these images need to realize the possible negative impact of editing photos to make themselves look enhanced.

This is why it is important for universities to take eating disorders seriously, and Youngstown State University is doing just that through hosting events for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which runs from Feb. 24 through March 1.

YSU’s events run until Feb. 28, and it shows the university is prioritizing education and awareness on eating disorders.

The university also sponsors an event called the EveryBODY Fashion Show, where people of different sizes, genders and ages strut down a runway. The fashion show is great to attend because it truly displays all body types.

The annual event honors Danielle Peters, a former Youngstown State University student who passed away due to complications from bulimia in 2012.

Jennifer Frank, a merchandising: fashion and interiors instructor, said the fashion show is put on annually to raise awareness for positive body image, according to an April 2019 Jambar article.

“There really are people of all shapes and sizes that [are not] always shown in the fashion industry. … We want everyone to feel beautiful and everyone to know that they are beautiful. Your size doesn’t define you. What defines you is what’s in your heart,” Frank said in the article.

This year’s event will take place April 10. So, attend the event and support the models who get up on the stage. It’s uplifting and encouraging.

To view a list of YSU’s events for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, go to ysu.edu.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder contact the NEDA helpline for support, resources and treatment options at 800- 931-2237. For a crisis situation, text “NEDA” to 741741 to be connected to a trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line.

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