In honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the
University’s Counseling and Psychological Services is holding
a “Love Every Body Week,” featuring events dealing with
ways students can feel better about appearance and avoid eating
disorders.

Today, millions of men and women around the country are
afflicted with eating disorders — leading thousands to die
every year from complications of anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

No matter how fat or thin a person may be, individuals with
eating disorders typically look at themselves in the mirror and see
a skewed body image, according to the American Psychiatric
Association. The disease has a lot to do with one’s genetic
inheritance. “Eating disorders have a strong genetic
component,” said Prof. David Rosen, a clinical associate at
the University. “The diseases are multi-factorial. Some
people are very susceptible genetically,” he said.

Although most people assume that individuals with eating
disorders have a problem with food intake, the main cause of eating
disorders arises from underlying problems a person faces in life,
according to the APA.

Christine Asidao, a member of the University’s Counseling
Services with a doctorate in clinical psychology, said,
“Messages that young men and women have received regarding
what beauty really is in the past, as well as what their culture
and racial and ethnic backgrounds distinguish as beautiful, may
contribute to how they perceive themselves and what they could do
to match those perceptions. For others, (eating disorders) are a
way of coping with the many disappointments that they may face in
their lives.”

While many men experience this illness, nursing Prof. Karen
Stein said eating disorders are mainly a problem for women. She
said eating disorders sometimes result from traumatic life
experiences. “Sometimes it can be a catastrophic event like
sexual abuse that makes one go out and explore,” she
said.

According to the APA, anorexia nervosa affects 1 percent of
women while 4 percent of college-aged women have bulimia. Only 10
percent of people with anorexia and bulimia are male.

“Men have similar features to women in that there is a
strong contribution to the combinations of personal
characterization and family history.… Rather than looking
thin and delicate, though, it’s imperative for men to be
muscular and physically fit,” Rosen said.

For further information on eating disorders or where to receive
help on campus, CAPS offers free services to students who may be in
need of an eating pattern assessment or therapy. To contact them,
call 764-8312.

Featured events for “Love Every Body Week” all take
place in the Union. Events include “The “Catch-22 of
Female Sexuality in Pop Culture” and “Eating Issues and
Body Image” workshops going on today from noon to 1:30 p.m.
and 7 to 9 p.m. respectively. “Dilemmas in Gay Male Body
Image” and “Students Stories and Performances”
take place tomorrow from noon to 1:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. An art
exhibit Sunday will conclude the events.

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