Eating Disorder Awareness

In recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, please read the following to learn some very important things you may not have known before:

If you or a friend is struggling with a negative body image, contact University Counseling Services at 368.5872

Five Common Eating Disorder Myths Busted
Myth 1: Eating disorders don’t happen at your college, especially among your guy friends.
Reality: Among female students, 48.5% report at least one symptom of disordered eating (e.g., strict dieting, binging or purging) in the past year.  Among male undergraduates, 25% report binge eating and 24% report fasting in the past month.

Myth 2: Watching your diet is the key to preventing the “freshman 15” weight gain.
Reality: The truth is that females only gain an average of three pounds the first year.  Many don’t gain any weight at all.  The average of four pounds that men gain is more likely due to increased muscle mass from exercise growth.

Myth 3: Having an eating disorder won’t impact your academic performance.
Reality: Starvation decreases brain volume along with grey and white matter responsible for multiple cognitive functions.  And the rigid thinking style typical of anorexia might work for memorizing facts in Biology 101 (for a while) but not for the critical thinking required for English or History.

Myth 4: Students with eating disorders are “perfect” and rarely risk breaking the rules.
Reality: Dieting and binge eating severity in college women is closely correlated with alcohol use and its negative consequences, including alcohol blackouts, unintended sexual activity, and problems at work or school.

Myth 5: For most of your peers, disordered eating behaviors are just a phase that will pass after graduation.
Reality: Eating disorders can be chronic if left untreated.  One study found that one quarter of undergraduates who had eating disorders in college were still struggling 20 years later.


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