Students bring eating disorder awareness to campus


Photo by Alysse Baer

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-Elect

Two students teamed up with the Center for Inclusive Excellence to facilitate National Eating Disorders Awareness week programming on campus.

Maeve Johns, a junior animation major and Allison Hritz, a junior secondary education major, planned events and awareness efforts for Tuesday through Thursday of next week, Feb. 18-20.

“Since freshman year, it’s always been my dream to have something like this for the students,” Johns said. “I feel like I have known so many people who have struggled with this, and I feel like it is so prevalent, yet it tends to fly under the radar here. And I think it’s important that we start having that conversation, because that’s something that’s super important to students.”

National Eating Disorders Awareness week is facilitated by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), and does not officially occur until Feb. 24-March 1. This year’s theme is “Come as You Are: Hindsight is 20/20.” NEDA’s website states that the theme is in reference to “reflecting on the positive steps you’ve taken — including those stemming from setbacks or challenges — toward accepting themselves and others.”

“I feel like in the 90s and the early 2000s, there was such a dialogue starting about eating disorders and as an education major, I’ve seen that fall off the radar of priorities for schools to focus on,” Hritz said. “America has one of the worst nutrition programs in the world. I think especially on our campus that focuses a lot on performance majors, and how literally people on our campus are putting their bodies out for judgement. It’s really important I think for our campus specifically to start the dialogue.”

NEDA’s website breaks down statistics for several different eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, diabulimia and compulsive exercise.

According to NEDA:

  • At any given point in time between 0.3-0.4% of young women and 0.1% of young men will suffer from anorexia nervosa.
  • A 2007 study asked 9,282 English-speaking Americans about a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. The results, published in Biological Psychiatry, found that 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men had binge eating disorder during their life.
  • At any given point in time, 1.0% of young women and 0.1% of young men will meet diagnostic criteria for bulimia nervosa.

According to Johns and Hritz, CulinArt and the Counseling Center have agreed to host events during the week, as well as the following clubs: Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), Honors Student Organization (HSO), Campus Cursive, Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG), ADFED, The Factory, Point Park Cares, Future Educators of America (FEA), Pinnacle Productions, The John P. Harris Film Society and the Student Government Association (SGA).

Kari Dettorre, the Communications Director for SGA and a junior multimedia major, has been especially involved in organizing SGA’s part of Feb. 18th’s scheduled “Self-Love Fair.” According to Dettorre, SGA is planning on focusing on education by debunking myths associated with eating disorders and informing students on how they can stop encouraging the culture surrounding eating disorders.

“I wanted to get involved, because I’ve been battling an eating disorder for roughly two and a half to three years now, and I wish there would have been more of a conversation surrounding it when I initially started struggling,” Dettorre said. “I didn’t even know I was dealing with one until maybe eight months after it started to develop, because there’s such little education on the subject and so many myths. Starting that conversation and joining in on that dialogue is incredibly important because not only does it educate people, but it also shows people that they’re not alone and encourages those who are struggling to talk about it, which sets off a chain reaction. The more we normalize talking about it, the more we break down that stigma, the closer we’ll get to beating it.”