Initiative to Address Eating Disorders on College Campuses

Our society puts a lot of pressure on how we are expected to look, and for some people that pressure can lead to unhealthy practices – especially among teenage girls and young women. Attempting to achieve a particular weight or body type can lead to eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. On college campuses in the United States, a new study suggests that eating disorders have become an endemic problem, The Fix reports. The study was conducted by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) and the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

The research indicates that that 25 percent of college women are bulimic, the act of binging and purging to manage weight. ANAD conducted a survey of 185 female students, which findings showed that:

  • 83 percent dieted for weight loss.
  • 58 percent felt pressure to be a certain weight.
  • Of the 83 percent who dieted, 44 percent were of normal weight.

NEDA is launching the national initiative, Proud2Bme on Campus, whose aim is to address the growing concerns about eating disorders, according to the article. Proud2Bme will give young women the tools to talk about their problem and ask for help. The initiative’s goal is to promote healthy self-esteem and body confidence.

“Students talk about how difficult it is not to be affected, even in a small way, by the picture-perfect body ideals and body snarking that is pervasive in our culture,” said Professor Bobbie Eisenstock of California State University, Northridge. “Proud2Bme on Campus is a unique opportunity for college students to help educate, engage, and empower their peers with critical thinking strategies to counteract these messages and promote self-acceptance and healthy lifestyle choices.”

Proud2Bme on Campus joined forces with New York University and California State University, Northridge faculty, working directly with student advocates.

“College students care about eating disorders awareness because they see firsthand how prevalent these illnesses are on their campuses,” said Sara Weekly, MD, instructor of NYU’s Advanced Seminar on Eating Disorders. “With more resources and opportunities to step up, they can be powerful advocates for positive change.”

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