As many as one in 10 teenage women struggle with a key symptom of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder.
Enter: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The awareness campaign is being held from Saturday, Feb. 24 to Sunday, March 4 at the University of Nevada, Reno. In honor of bringing awareness to the issue, the university is hosting a series of events for students to attend and gain insight into eating disorders.
In 2013, a study conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association found the number of people with eating disorders increased over a 13 year period — from 23 percent to 32 percent among females and from 8 percent to 25 percent among males.
This year’s NEDA theme is ‘Let’s Get Real.’ The theme focuses on the myths that surround eating disorders and aims to prove that anyone can suffer from the illness.
“Eating disorders do not discriminate by size, gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, or anything else,” Jenni Schaefer, National Recovery Advocate for Eating Recovery Center said. “You can’t tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking.”
The NEDA encourages individuals struggling with an eating disorder to seek help. The organization also advises those who may know of someone struggling with the illness to also reach out and help.
“You want to pick a time when you can talk to that person one-on-one [and] privately. You want to lead with the fact that you care about them and you’re concerned,” Mysko said. “Then you want to cite the specific examples that have led you to believe that there could be a problem and offer to help.”
UNR will be hosting two public events this week and encourages students to attend, even if they do not have an eating disorder.
The first event is the viewing of the local documentary “Love, Chantal”. It follows a Reno woman and shows the harmful effects of eating disorders. The event will be held at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 12 p.m. There will be a panel discussion after the documentary.
At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 1, the Knowledge Center Breezeway and Nook will be posting a series of posters that will encourage a discussion about socio-cultural influences on body image and ways to resist social pressure.
The NEDA recommends that if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder and needs help, contact their helpline at (800) 931-2237. Their services are offered Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, and they are available to answer any questions or offer support. If there is an emergency, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 which is available 24/7.
Karolina Rivas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @karolinarrivas.