Week Draws Attention to Eating Disorders

UCSD’s Student Health Services and Advocates operated a table at RIMAC from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.on Monday to mark the beginning of Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which continues through Friday.

Pamphlets regarding this year’s themes, “”Every BODY is Beautiful”” and “”Celebrating Every BODY,”” were offered to students, along with the opportunity to talk to trained professionals about body image, fitness and nutrition issues. The goal of the programs this week are “”to bring awareness that there are eating disorders on campus,”” according to Heather Kurata, a dietitian with Student Health Services.

Today from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be an information booth in Price Center Gallery B. Students will be able to view videos about body image and talk with professional physicians, psychologists and dietitians. Other students in recovery will also be present to talk with students about issues regarding body image.

There will also be a booth on Library Walk from noon to 2 p.m. today. Videos, information and give-aways will be available, along with the opportunity to talk with peers and professionals.

This year’s themes are intended to encourage people across the country to celebrate the diversity of body shapes and sizes. They come in response to current trends in eating disorders, which can result from body image issues.

“”We’re trying to shift the focus more toward body acceptance,”” Kurata said.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week is a nationally recognized program.

“”Most universities do something during this week,”” Kurata said.

The pamphlets available contain a large range of information on various aspects of eating disorders. One pamphlet is called “”Eating Disorders: What Everyone Should Know,”” and contains information about the symptoms and signs of eating disorders, how to help a friend, what causes eating disorders, tips for athletes and strategies for combating unsafe eating habits.

Another pamphlet contains information about the focus of this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week: body image.

“”Help on the Way: Female Athlete Triad”” is another pamphlet available. The “”Female Athlete Triad”” is a combination of three disorders: disordered eating, lack of menstrual periods and bone weakening. Active women, including college athletes, are at risk for this. The pamphlet includes information about the signs and risks of Female Athlete Triad, as well as prevention tips.

College students are often at high risk for eating disorders because of all the changes they experience. Kurata named some of the factors, such as being away from home for the first time, having to select their own meals in the dining halls, and the weight limits that some sports teams impose.

Students being treated for eating disorders at Student Health Services see a combination of three people to aid their recovery: a dietitian, a psychologist and a physician.

“”We do a multi-disciplinary approach,”” Kurata said.