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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The Body Smart Initiative wants you to know that you’re beautiful this week

Jen Pimentel
The Student Health Advocacy Committee tent on the UA Mall on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Campus groups will be spending time on the UA Mall this month in an effort to help improve students’ body images.

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and UA students are doing their part to help spread awareness.

The student-led Body Smart Initiative, a group focused on “enhancing self worth and positive body image,” hosted its annual Body Smart Day on the UA Mall on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Event intern and public health senior Ashley McHale said it made sense to plan Body Smart Day during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

“We are cutting down fat-shamming and fat talk and really embracing who we are and all of the things our body can do for us,” McHale said.

Numerous student-led groups such as Pride Alliance, FORCE and Greek Life set up tables on the Mall with different activities for students to partake in that enhanced self-worth and encouraged positive body image.

“I know a lot of us on Body Smart have either experienced things with eating disorders or experienced things with people who are very close to us, which kind of empowered us to speak up and do something about it,” McHale said.

Students were able to write what beauty meant to them on a white board, take a photo with what they wrote, which would be featured on Body Smart’s Facebook page, as well as sign a banner that wrote #IAmBodySmart to show support.

Students also had the option to write hope notes, or positive messages, in return for one that was already written by another student.

Volunteers from Counseling and Psychological Services were conducting body image screenings as well. Students filled out a survey regarding how they felt about their bodies and were given a score on their self-perception.

CAPS counselors were available to talk about nutritional habits or personal issues, according to event intern and public health junior Charlotte Musgrove.

“I think it’s way too normal to hear people talking about needing to lose weight, or that they’re too fat to do something, or they’re not happy with their body and I feel like it has become this norm and that’s what we’re trying to end,” Musgrove said. “It shouldn’t be normal to hear those things and everyone should be confident and comfortable in their skin and not be worried about that stuff.”

Both McHale and Musgrove were in charge of putting on Body Smart Day with 15 volunteers and interns.

“Our mission is to enhance self worth and positive body image among all UA students. We’re not just targeting females, it is a very prevalent issue in males too,” Musgrove said. “We want to make sure that we are gender neutral and help and reach out to everybody.”

McHale said it was important for them to get Body Smart’s name out there because there are people on campus who do not know who the group is.

“I think the majority of those people who don’t know who we are need to know who we are,” McHale said.

The Body Smart team will be holding a table event outside of the Student Recreation Center on Sixth Street and Highland Avenue on Tuesday, March 8.

McHale said they would put motivational words such as beautiful, handsome, strong and enough, for people to walk under as they enter the Rec Center so they “feel empowered.”

Follow Devon Walo on Twitter.

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