National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDAwareness) Week is coming to an end on March 2, 2013, but two recent surveys demonstrate the ongoing work that is still needed to help prevent and treat eating disorders.
The National Eating Disorders Association recently released the results for the Collegiate Survey Project. The survey found that due to the increasing percent of college students struggling with eating disorders, there is a need for more funding and resources on college campuses for eating disorder services.
The respondents in the survey are “campus service provider representatives” from 165 colleges and universities.
Survey results did show that educational information, such as websites and pamphlets, are available on many campuses and most campuses have workshops or prevention efforts related to eating disorders at least once or twice a year.
However, there is room for growth. For example, campuses that do have education campaigns for the most part have no evidence of the campaigns’ actual success in helping people at risk for or suffering from eating disorders.
In addition, less than half of the universities surveyed offer eating disorder screenings once a year or semester. Only 22.4 percent offer year-round screenings. Screenings can help cut the time students suffer from eating disorders.
There is also a major lack of training and education opportunities for individuals who are in a position to help in eating disorder treatment and prevention, such as dieticians, advisors and fitness instructors.
There are limited resources for athletes at risk for eating disorders as well. For more survey results, view the links in the sources section.
The Renfrew Center Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports eating disorder education, prevention and treatment, also released a survey recently as part of its “Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within” campaign during NEDAwareness Week.
The survey focused on how girls ages 8-18 feel when they wear makeup or go without it. The online survey conducted in December 2012 had 572 U.S. participants.
The results show how many girls lean on makeup to feel better and to hide insecurities. For example, the survey found that “at least 1 in 5 young girls have negative feelings when they don’t wear makeup.”
Some girls felt unattractive, self-conscious and naked or “as though something is missing” when they went without makeup.
These insecurities are starting at an early age.
In fact, the survey found 58 percent of girls 8-18 are wearing makeup. For that matter, 65 percent of girls that admitted to wearing makeup stated that they started wearing makeup sometime between the ages of 8 and 13. And for 27 percent of girls who wear makeup, that makeup rarely comes off when they leave their houses.
Adrienne Ressler, the national training director for the Renfrew Center Foundation, said in a press release that although wearing makeup can be a “rite of passage,” it’s concerning for so many young girls to be wearing makeup and having negative feelings associated with not wearing makeup.
“Girls who start too early may be hiding more than an acne breakout – they may be demonstrating early signs of self-esteem issues and a negative self-image or setting up a ritual that is difficult to break,” Ressler said.
“Unfortunately, these behaviors and feelings can set the stage for addictions or disordered eating patterns to develop."
She added that it’s difficult to have a positive body image in a world distorted by unattainable beauty expectations and photoshopped images.
One way to start your awareness journey of eating disorders amidst these enlightening survey results is to be aware of the warning signs.
Dr. Kim Dennis, CEO and medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, said in an email that there are various warning signs of eating disorders to look for in family members and friends:
1) “Drastic changes in weight, up or down.”
2) “Looking sick or run down.”
3) “Changes in personality, social withdrawal/isolation, not eating with family or friends.”
4) “Excessive exercise, excessive laxative use, dieting, frequent trips to the bathroom after eating.”
5) “Large amounts of food missing from the house, wrappers or hidden food.”
6) “Unexplained medical problems like fainting, dizziness, and abdominal discomfort.”
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). National Eating Disorders Association Announces Results of College Survey. Web. Feb. 27, 2013.
NEDA. Collegiate Survey Project. Web. Feb. 27, 2013.
PRNewswire. From Barbies to Blush – New Survey Reveals Young Girls Are Wearing Makeup Earlier Than Ever to Hide Their Insecurities. Web. Feb. 28, 2013.
Renfrew Center: Media Center
Dennis, Kim. Email interview. Feb. 20, 2013.
Reviewed February 28, 2013
by MIchele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith