National Eating Disorder Awareness Week events planned
RELEASED: February 21, 2008
Balance was created in the fall of 2006 by Julie White '08, who had personal reasons for organizing the group.
"I had just come out of a relapse with my eating disorder and decided there needed to be an organization on campus that dealt with the issue of body image," White says. She collaborated with Parsons Student Health Center and held monthly meetings with a small group of about eight members.
White says that in the beginning few people wanted to talk about the issues Balance was founded on or recognize a need for such an organization on campus. For those who initially participated, the meetings served as an informal, much-needed support group for those who had a friend or family member struggling with an eating disorder.
"An eating disorder consumes every part of your life—it's not just a physical disorder," says White. "It's in many ways like a drug people use to cope with. I wanted to let people know they could get out, that there was hope and freedom from the 'prison' of an eating disorder."
Jamison Norwood '09 is a member of Balance and one of the organizers of campus NEDAW events. She has several goals for the weeklong series.
"I want students to realize that both females and males have eating disorders," Norwood says. According to "The American Journal of Psychiatry," she says, 10 to 20 percent of people with anorexia or bulimia are male.
"Most importantly, I want to break the silence around the issue," Norwood continues. "I would love it if people who are struggling but haven't sought help would walk over to Parsons Health Centre and ask for help."
Like White, Norwood's participation in Balance and NEDAW is personal. As a result of her eating disorder, which began during her senior year of high school, Norwood has early osteoporosis and ulcers.
"People need to realize that this isn't a silly disease, but that it's fatal," she says.
In addition to NEDAW events, the group has organized support efforts in which students can participate all year long. Soon Balance will host "Lunch Bunch," where members of the group can eat lunch together in Cowan Dining Commons on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
"Educating people about eating disorders and getting a conversation going about them will help open the door on a closed issue," Norwood says.
2008 Campus NEDAW Events:
Sunday, Feb. 24: A vigil will be held to remember those who are struggling and have struggled with an eating disorder. It will take place at the Labyrinth at the Presbyterian Church on Main Street after Get Centred, which begins at 10:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 25: A collage party will be held at the Warehouse. Bring magazines to create a wall of "fame" and "shame" to be hung in Cowan.
Tuesday, Feb. 26: Tina Thompson, a dietician and nutritionist specializing in weight management issues, will speak about various aspects of eating disorders. A student panel will be held afterwards. This event is a convocation. For more information on convocations, click here.
Wednesday, Feb. 27: A "healthy body meal" will be available in Cowan. For everyone who chooses the "healthy body meal," Cowan will donate $1 to the National Eating Disorder Awareness Association.
Friday, Feb. 29: This is "Fearless Friday"—a day for everyone to pledge not to diet for one day.
Saturday, March 1: The NEDAW 5K race will be held at Millennium Park in Danville beginning at 9 a.m. Entrance fee is $10.
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