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"Ask the Experts" Wellness Blog

Archive for February, 2010

Question of the Week: What Causes Eating Disorders?

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Since this is National Eating Disorder Awareness week, this is a great question to address. The development of an eating disorder is different for every person. Researchers and experts may have different theories on how and why an eating disorder develops; however, we do know that eating disorders are multi-faceted and may include a combination of psychological, interpersonal, social and biological factors. Although an eating disorder may start out with a preoccupation about food, weight, and/or “getting healthy,” eating disorders are not about the food and weight. Food and weight are a coping mechanism for psychological issues. Once a person has developed an eating disorder, treatment requires professional help. For more information visit the National Eating Disorder Association website: or for a free and anonymous screening go to:

February 21-27 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

The week of February 21-27, 2010 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW). The week is observed annually the last week of February. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) the goal for observing the week is “to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.”

According to the NEDA website: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are on the rise in the United States and worldwide. Among U.S. females in their teens and 20s, the prev¬alence of clinical and subclinical anorexia may be as high as 15%. Anorexia nervosa ranks as the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescent U.S. females. Recent studies suggest that up to 7% of U.S. females have had bulimia at some time in their lives. At any given time an estimated 5% of the U.S. population has undiagnosed bulimia. Current findings suggest that binge-eating disorder affects 0.7% to 4% of the general population. (National Eating Disorder Association,

The Eating Disorder Education and Prevention (EDEP) Student Organization work year round to plan the events to be held on the UNL Campus in observation of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The press release below, written by Jennifer Snyder, marketing director at the University Health Center, highlights the events of the week.

A week to “Get Real” about your body and health is planned at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in observance of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 22-26.

The week begins with the “Pincurl Girls: A Story of Empowerment” by Jen Lukas-Landis at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lukas-Landis is a local artist and UNL alumnus (BFA, 1994; MFA, 2006) who created Pincurl Girls as a project to provide art work and products which encourage girls of all ages to love, express and believe in themselves. The Pincurl Girls project includes self esteem exercises, games and building products. For more information about the Pincurl Girls, visit the Web site (

UNL alumnus Ryan Sallans will present “Your Sexual Being: Your Body Comfort” at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the Nebraska Union. Sallans is a free-lance public speaker where he shares his story, struggles, and observations about being transgendered. Sallans has appeared twice on “Larry King Live” and is currently writing a book detailing his transition and living in the Midwest. He also works at a non-profit organization as a health educator.

On Feb. 24, there will be a panel discussion at 7 p.m. in the Nebraska Union featuring Nebraska student athletes speaking about the pressures of body image in athletics. The week concludes with the presentation, “Chisled: Men and Body Image” by Justin Henderson, a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at UNL. The presentation is a part of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Grand Rounds Series on Feb. 26 at 8:30 a.m. at the University Health Center, Conference Rooms A, B, C.

Throughout the week, Students Helping Individuals Nurture Esteem (SHINE) will give presentations at various campus locations. These presentations include:
• Feb. 22, 1 p.m., Nebraska Union: “In the Spotlight”
• Feb. 23, 2 p.m., Nebraska Union: “Truth About Dieting”
• Feb. 24, 2:30 p.m., Campus Rec Center: “Exercising: Too Much of a Good Thing”
• Feb. 25, 12:30 p.m., Nebraska Union: “Mindful Eating”
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week began as a national outreach campaign sponsored by the Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention organization, a national nonprofit organization. A week to “Be Real” is sponsored at UNL by the Eating Disorders Education and Prevention Student Association; Students Helping Individuals Nurture Esteem; Greeks Promoting Positive Attitudes; University Health; and Campus Recreation. All events are free and open to the public.
This marks the 14th year that UNL has observed the week. The Eating Disorder Education and Prevention Student Association planned all activities sponsored on campus and hope the week will help foster healthy ideas and encourage students to develop self-esteem and self-respect based on wellness principles. For more information, visit

Please join EDEP at any of the events and discover how you can get real about your health and help in preventing eating disorders.