UNA Organizes Second Annual Eating Disorders Awareness Campaign

Feb. 2, 2011


FLORENCE, Ala. – In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males suffer with anorexia and bulimia, which has inspired the University of North Alabama Student Counseling Service to host activities to bring attention to the effects of eating disorders.

The second annual Eating Disorders Awareness campaign at UNA will take place during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which is Feb. 20-26. Organizer Jennifer Berry, ALC, said that Student Counseling Service has a variety of activities and events planned that focus on the severity of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.

“If it’s not the student who is directly affected by an eating disorder, it’s someone they know,” Berry said. “Eating disorders are diseases that affect not only the person struggling with the disorder, but also the people who are involved with that person. Our theme this year is ‘It’s Time To Talk About It,’ and the only way we can talk about it is to become aware.”

The weeklong awareness campaign will kick off with an information table in the Guillot University Center Atrium on Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where men and women will be asked to write their definition of beauty on art boards. That evening at 6 in the GUC Performance Center, a speaker and panel of health professionals will discuss the emotional and physical consequences of eating disorders and how they evolve, followed by a showing of an episode of “Intervention” that chronicles a case of anorexia.

Students will be asked to donate bathroom scales during a Scale Bash on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to demonstrate that women and men should not be controlled by the number of their weight. At the same time, the Student Counseling Service will invite students to undergo clinical screenings for eating disorders, where they will be given additional information, guidance and referral information as needed.

The campaign will wrap up on Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with an “I Am Beautiful” information table, where women will be encouraged to remove their makeup and show their natural beauty. Clinical screenings for eating disorders will be offered again from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the GUC that day. The award-winning documentary “America the Beautiful…Is America Obsessed with Beauty?” will be presented in the GUC Performance Center at 6 p.m.

Berry said the 2010 Eating Disorder Awareness Week activities attracted about 500 participants of both genders. Because eating disorders affect about 10 percent of the nation’s college population personally, she hopes more students will come out to this year’s events.

For more information, contact UNA’s Student Counseling Services at 256-765-4328.