Across the U.S. today millions of young women will start their morning on the bathroom scale. They will skip breakfast to avoid the calories and spend most of the day preoccupied with negative thoughts about food and their bodies.
“Five to ten percent of all adolescent girls and women suffer from an eating disorder, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders, and many more wage a daily battle with dieting and negative body image,” according to Dr. Mardie Burckes-Miller, professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Plymouth State College. “In a society that often equates thinness with success, achievement and worth, it is not surprising that so many women are willing to risk their emotional and physical health to attain the ‘perfect body,’” she says.
To combat these negative messages, educators, health professionals, therapists and individuals are teaming up with the non-profit organization Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc. (EDAP) to host the 17th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 24-March 2, 2002 to educate the public about the prevalence, types, signs, symptoms and potentially life-threatening problems of eating disorders, to promote messages of positive body image and self-esteem, and to celebrate diversity in the human form.
The NH Behavior Survey reported eight percent of female students vomited or used laxatives to lose weight or prevent weight gain in the span of a month. Dieting among high school students is now the norm, with many harmful practices like fasting, vomiting and the use of laxatives and diuretics being widespread. Activities are being planned across the state.
Dr. Burckes- Miller is coordinator of Eating Disorder Awareness Week at PSC. Events planned include A Day Without Mirrors, “Real Live Women: Women of Tamworth,” a Body Fair, a theatre performance, a chocolate reception, seminars and physical activites.
PSC celebrates Love Your Body Week February 25 – 28. For information call 535-2853 or visit the Web at www.plymouth.edu/psc/wellness/LYBW2002.htm.