BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — With waistlines shrinking, studies suggest an epidemic of negative body image-related eating and exercise disorders among university students has inflated.
In order to raise awareness of body image issues and celebrate bodies of all shapes and sizes, several organizations at IU are partnering to present Celebrate EveryBODY Week starting next Monday and running through Feb. 28, featuring events designed to increase mindfulness and create positive messaging related to body image awareness.
Up to two-thirds of college women have undiagnosed eating issues, about 60 percent diet or binge and nearly 70 percent rely on a combination of diet pills, purging and fasting to control weight, according to a recent University of Michigan study.
While eating disorders are less common among college men, the study suggests up to 9 percent cope with eating-related issues. The driving force behind these issues, in both women and men, is hard to pinpoint, said Andy Fry, assistant director of fitness and wellness at IU's Campus Recreational Sports.
"Some research points to negative body image and eating disorders serving as coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety among young people," Fry told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/WTOSob ). "Additional research points to transitional life periods as being a catalyst for the beginning of an eating disorder, which would also support the previous theory, because stress and anxiety are often present in major transitional periods such as going to college for the first time."
This is Celebrate EveryBODY Week's fifth year, and is organized by IU Campus Recreational Sports in partnership with the IU Health Center's Coalition for Overcoming Problem Eating/Exercise and the IU School of Fine Arts, according to a news release.
"Working in a fitness setting, we were concerned with what appeared to be a growing number of people exercising excessively and in ways detrimental to their own health," Fry said.
The event will feature a variety of positive body image-building activities, including live tweeting positive body messages and affirmations, creating a mosaic mural focused on positive body imagery and a discussion of body image, media and mindfulness.
Other events include a free yoga session and the "Rock What You've Got" dance party.
"We've programmed events that allow and encourage participants to explore new and creative ways to think about their bodies in more positive, nonjudgmental terms," Fry said. "The events and activities were selected in order for people to focus on what they love about themselves, rather than what they perceive as being negative."
Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com