Educational programs, free screenings to be held on GVSU campuses for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week
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Jennifer Stewart, associate professor of sociology, will highlight ways societal views of food affect the prevalence of eating disorders in American culture.
Through a series of programs hosted by Grand Valley State University organizations and on-campus centers, university leaders hope to bring awareness to students about eating disorders and food habits during this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
On Feb. 26, free and confidential screenings will be held on both GVSU campuses and administered by GVSU counseling staff for students, staff and faculty as part of National Screening Day, one of the major initiatives organized as part of the week of advocacy.
Many programs are designed to promote more than just awareness surrounding eating disorders.
Karen Burba, the doctoral intern at the GVSU Counseling and Career Development Center, said topics like disordered eating habits will be focused on during the events.
“Far more students may engage in eating behaviors that are disordered than those that have an eating disorder,” Burba said.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 91 percent of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, and 25 percent of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.
“It is also a way for the Counseling Center to reach out to those who may be wondering about their eating and if they should get help,” Burba said. “By having a one-on-one feedback session with a counselor, it can help a student to feel more comfortable following up on potential resources.”
In addition to the screenings, the GVSU Love Your Body Week Committee – a group facilitated by the GVSU Women’s Center in coordination with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, will use the week of awareness to bring attention to other aspects of bodies and social relationships.
On Feb. 26, the group will host an event in room 2263 of the Kirkhof Center at 5 p.m. that will discuss how ideas around food are seen within society, followed by the Feb. 27 event “From Hater to Body Celebrator,” at 7 p.m. in room 2204 of the Kirkhof Center.
“From Hater to Body Celebrator” will feature the week’s keynote speaker, Amber Krzys, who will offer student participants advice on ways to embrace and reclaim their bodies.
Extending the conversation on body acceptance, the GVSU Women’s Center will host the art exhibit “I Am Human,” on Feb. 27 from 12-5 p.m.
Sarah Graham, part of the Love Your Body Week Committee, also said the center is giving GVSU students the opportunity to share their comments about embracing their bodies on a pair of jeans.
“We use the name ‘Love Your Body’ in order to be inclusive of all types of body image issues and expand the conversation beyond just disordered eating,” Graham said.
Graham said she hopes the events during the week will give students the opportunity to become educated about their bodies and society in order to “see past the socially-constructed ideal of beauty.”
Screenings will be held at various locations around GVSU’s Allendale and Pew campuses. For more information on National Eating Disorder Screening Day, as well as times and locations, visit gvsu.edu/counsel/ and click on “Special Events,” “National Eating Disorder Screening Day” on the blue sidebar.