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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA looks to aid body image

Students, the UA wants you to love your body.

With 20 percent of college students admitting to having an eating disorder and three-quarters of those not receiving treatment, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, the UA’s Love Your Body Day is a chance to reach students.

Today’s Love Your Body Day is an annual event that coincides with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Last year Kirsten Haglund, the 2008 winner of the Miss America pageant, shared her experience combating an eating disorder. This year, Jessica Setnick, author of “”The Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide,”” will share her personal story in a talk entitled “”Making Food Your Friend Again.””

Personal stories can often create hope and empowerment for people trying to recover from eating disorders, said Gale Welter, a nutrition counselor for Health Promotion and Preventive Services at Campus Health Service.

“”She’s got a great personality, she’s real funny, she’s a Texas girl,”” Welter said of Setnick.

Setnick will be speaking during the day’s main event in the South Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center at 6 p.m. today, and will have her book available.

In addition to the main event,  volunteers will conduct free student screenings, surveys that ask students about their bodies and body image, that will take place around campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The screenings are designed to go into a national data bank to help people that work with eating disorders across the nation track trends, said Laura Orlich, a mental health clinician who is also the coordinator of eating disorder services for Campus Health Service.

Professional counselors will be available to support and inform students of services offered at Campus Health.

“”We want to raise awareness and do it in a way that is not shaming or blaming so that people can be aware that there’s support,”” Orlich said.

Orlich highlighted key screening statements that are watched for, such as when someone answers on the survey “”am terrified about being overweight,”” “”find myself preoccupied with food,”” “”feel extremely guilty after eating,”” “”am preoccupied with a desire to be thinner”” and “”engage in dieting behavior.””

Students can choose to respond to the survey by responding whether they feel that way always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely or never.

In the U.S., one million males and 10 million females are struggling with a life-threatening eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Signs that someone may have an eating disorder include isolating themselves, not eating with others, physical weight loss over a short period of time and change in mood, Orlich said, noting her major concern is people who try to over-regulate their caloric intake.

Other signs that someone may have an eating disorder are people who eat even if they are not hungry, fear gaining weight, obsess about food or avoid eating in a social setting, Orlich said.

Some students might not even attend class simply because they feel too fat, according to Welter.

Bulimia and anorexia are not the only prevalent eating disorders, binge eating is also part of the spectrum, Orlich said.

Binge eating is based on anxiety levels and can be used as a coping strategy.

“”I’ve had cases where a young woman who didn’t feel she was getting the attention she needed and wanted from guys, thought that if she lost weight, that she would attract males,”” Orlich said.

Orthorexia, another such disorder, is a non-clinical term used in the field to describe an obsessive concern with eating healthy.

Orlich calls Orthorexia a good idea gone bad.

“”Eating vegetables is a great idea, but if you only eat vegetables, you’re going to have a protein deficit,”” she said. “”It’s like taking a healthy idea and going too far with it.””

Love Your Body Day events:

Screening from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“”Making Food Your Friend Again”” with Jessica Setnick at 6 p.m.

Screening locations:

The Mall,

The UofA Bookstore

Outside of Campus Health Service in the Highland Commons area

Event Sponsors:

Desert Milagros


Cottonwood Tucson


The UA Alumni Association and Parents & Family Association

Main Gate Square

Women’s Resource Center

Campus Health Service


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