NIU to host events in honor of Eating Disorder Awareness Week

By Brooke Shinberg

A series of events will take place across campus in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

A number of events will be sponsored by departments across campus, including the Counseling and Student Development Center, Health Enhancement, Campus Recreation, Women’s Resource Center, Asian American Resource Center, Latino Resource Center and the Nutrition and Dietetics Department.

“The planned events include a free Zumba class, a fashion show, a panel discussion and candlelight vigil, as well as a variety of professional presentations about eating disorders and body image concerns,” said Desiree Busson-Sokolik, doctoral intern for the Counseling and Student Development Center.

The events are being hosted to spread information for the entire community, said dietetic intern Ana Pruteanu.

“We aren’t just putting these on for people with eating disorders,” Pruteanu said. “The events are free and open to the public.”

One presentation is on how to help a friend or a family member by recognizing the signs of a potential eating problem and what to do if a friend does have an eating problem.

“We believe with more awareness about disordered eating and body image concerns across the campus community, we are more likely to help those who struggle with eating disorders and prevent eating-related problems in the future,” Busson-Sokolik said.

There are four types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and eating disorders not otherwise specified.

“Eating disorders not otherwise specified accounts for the most common form in part because individuals move in and out of the specific criteria for anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder,” said Martha O’Gorman, nutrition counselor and registered dietician.

Another event being held will be presented by one current NIU student and two former NIU students who have battled an eating disorder and recovered.

“It is important to know that others around you struggle with this issue,” Pruteanu said. “You’re not crazy.”

O’Gorman said eating disorders have the highest death rate of any psychiatric diagnosis.

Two or more events each day are scheduled, according to O’Gorman.

“Prevention comes by modeling healthy approaches to wellness,” O’Gorman said.

The week’s first event will be a free Zumba class at 3:30 p.m. today at the Campus Recreation Center. The class is open to the public and information on NIU’s graduate study program on eating disorders and obesity will be available.