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Active Minds partners with UAB to raise awareness about Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders are a growing concern all over the country. About 70 percent of people from age 18 to 30 are not satisfied with their body. Local organizations are trying to raise awareness about the various types of eating disorders. The statistics of eating disorders have been progressively becoming worse and bringing awareness to the issue is the way Active Minds and UAB are getting involved.
February 24 through March 2 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Active Mind’s goal is to increase outreach and awareness while simultaneously reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association also aims to improve access to treatment resources by educating others of their existence.
Ashley Helix, president of UAB’s Active Mind chapter, is very passionate about bringing awareness to issues that are not commonly discussed within society, particularly issues of mental health. “Last semester we did a lot of work around suicide and depression awareness,” Helix stated, “I wanted to start branching out so we could inform students about other disorders.”
Eating disorders are not something to just pass over. Among females, body image issues can begin as young as five years of age. It is reported that 42 percent of first, second and third graders want to be thinner. The numbers are staggering as the age increases. 70 percent of people in the 18-30 age range do not even like their bodies.
Of all females, it is estimated that 50 percent of girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors. These include skipping meals, fasting, smoking, vomiting, and taking laxatives. Multiple doctors say that these are extremely unsafe weight-control tactics.
Women are not the only ones affected by eating disorders, however. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 10 million males will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. A reported 43 percent of men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
Active Minds wants this awareness week to impact the UAB community. “It will definitely educate a lot of students about the symptoms of eating disorders as well as what treatments there are,” comments Helix. She hopes that the week’s events will spark a discussion that most people have never had before.
The week will provide many educational and encouraging events. On Monday, there will be an event called “Redefining the Scale” from 11-3 p.m. in the HUC Lobby. This event will be equipped with an information table that will be manned by students. Resources for education and help will be available for students, along with interactive activities.
On Wednesday, the School of Public Health Student Association is co-sponsoring a Question and Answer panel from 6-7:30 p.m. in the School of Public Health, room 107. Three experts will compose the panel: Dr. Mary Boggiano, a Behavioral Neuroscientist of the Department of Psychology; Dr. Marsha Sturdevant, the Director of the Adolescent Eating Disorder Clinic at Children’s of Alabama; and Dr. Gayle Janzen, a Clinical Psychologist at the Cahaba Psychology Center. Insecurity cards for Friday’s event will also be available.
The last day of events on Friday includes “Releasing your Insecurities” from 3-4 p.m. at the Mini Park and “The Body Expression Experience,” co-sponsored by UAB Housing, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Blazer RLC.
During “Releasing your Insecurities,” the Insecurity cards that were available at the previous two events will be attached to balloons. The balloons will then be released as a symbolic representation of releasing the stresses that are associated with worrying about insecurities and self-esteem issues.
“The Body Expression Experience” will be a night of activities that celebrate having a positive attitude about one’s body. This final event will celebrate the entire week of events as well.
Active Minds is a growing and impactful organization on UAB’s campus. To get involved, join the Active Minds at UAB group on Facebook or join on OrgSync. Their next general meeting is March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Campbell 396, and they have many more upcoming events that you can get involved in.