Wayne State College
Student Center, Rm. 103
1111 Main St.
Wayne, NE 68787
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Eating disorders affect people of all ages, but are especially
prominent among college students. Body dissatisfaction,
particularly regarding size and weight, is a common attribute
found in the college-age population and body size dissatisfaction
and disordered eating appear to be widespread, particularly
among young women.
Body image refers to our perceptions of our own physical
appearance, or our internal sense of having a body which
is constructed by the brain. A person's body image (perceptions,
thoughts, feelings, and attitudes) is how they perceive
their exterior to look, and in many cases this can be dramatically
different to how they actually appear to others.
Body image is:
- How you see yourself when you look in the mirror or
when you picture yourself in your mind.
- What you believe about your own appearance (including
your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
- How you feel about your body, including your height,
shape, and weight.
- How you sense and control your body as you move. How
you feel in your body, not just about your body.
A negative/positive body image can influence eating behaviors.
Negative body image is . . .
- A distorted perception of your shape--you perceive
parts of your body unlike they really are.
- You are convinced that only other people are attractive
and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal
- You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about
- You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.
Positive body image is . . .
- A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the
various parts of your body as they really are.
- You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape
and you understand that a person`s physical appearance
says very little about their character and value as a
- You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and
refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying
about food, weight, and calories.
- You feel comfortable and confident in your body.
People with negative body image have a greater likelihood
of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to
suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem,
and obsessions with weight loss.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) ran a
poll on college campuses across the nation in 2006. NEDA
polled 1,002 students (both male and female undergraduate
and graduate students of various ethnicities ) on private
and public campuses, asking about their general knowledge
of eating disorders; how many of their peers they know are
battling the illness; the causes of eating disorders; and
actions they may have taken to help those afflicted, among
Nearly 20% of respondents believed that at some point
they had suffered from an eating disorder, versus available
research that has demonstrated lifetime prevalence rates
between .05-4%. Among those who said they have had one or
still suffer from an eating disorder, nearly 75% of that
group never received treatment.
Of those polled 36.5% were men and 63.5% were women, from
freshman through graduate and post baccalaureate. Ethnically,
78.9% were Caucasian; 7.6% African- American; 8.2% Asian;
and 7.2% Hispanic.
Occurrence of eating disorders on campus:
- More than half of those polled (55.3%) said they know
at least one person who has struggled with an eating disorder
and have at least taken the initiative to speak to them
about it (57.6%).
- Only 37.8% felt their lives were not personally impacted
by an eating disorder. Of the 19.6% who admit to having
personally had an eating disorder at some time, nearly
75% of those had never received or sought treatment.
- Students who have dieted and avoided or skipped meals
(80.9% and 74.7%, respectively).
- Students who know someone who compulsively exercises
more than two hours at a time, more days of the week than
not (44.4%), purges by vomiting (38.8%); uses laxatives
to lose weight (26%).
General awareness of eating disorders:
- Of the respondents, 25.2% were familiar with anorexia;
22.9% with bulimia; 15.4% with binge eating disorder;
7.9% with compulsive exercise bulimia and 62.4% with all
of the above. Only 10.9% selected “none of the above.”
- A majority of respondents believe eating disorders will
lead to major lifelong health problems and serious or
fatal health issues (83% and 82.5%, respectively).
Among the common pressures believed by respondents to
cause the onset of eating disorders:
- Cultural pressures to be thin (57.3%)
- Stress from family and life in general (40.3% and 46.2%,
- Personal choice (39%)
- Mental illness (35.4%)
- History of trauma (17.9%)
- Genetics (17.6%)
DID YOU KNOW?
- As many as 10 million females and 1 million males in
the U.S. are battling eating disorders such as anorexia
and bulimia. Millions more suffer from binge eating disorder.
- The peak onset of eating disorders occurs during puberty
and the late teen/early adult years, but symptoms can
occur as young as kindergarten.
- More than one in three “normal dieters”
progresses to pathological dieting.
- Eating disorders affect people from all walks of life,
including young children, middle-aged women, men and individuals
of all races and ethnicities.
- Long-term physical health implications of eating disorders
include heart failure, kidney damage, esophagus, colon
and intestinal problems, osteoporosis, tooth decay and
- Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any
- Although eating disorders are potentially lethal, they
What can you do about eating disorders?
If after going through the information on this website and
you are concerned about yourself, be open to getting help.
Eating disorders are a serious problem and are best handled
with professional help. Think about it this way. If you
had a broken arm, would you go see a doctor? Of course you
would. Eating disorders are no different, except that they
are more dangerous if left untreated.
If after going through the information on this website
you are concerned about a friend, express your concern,
but don’t try to fix the problem. Be supportive and
willing to listen and encourage him/her to seek help with
the Counseling Center. Eating disorders may be related to
a variety of issues that require professional help. Encourage
your friend to get professional help. If they refuse, share
the problem with someone— a counselor, an RD, or someone
else positioned to offer support and help.
The WSC Counseling Center is located in the Student Center,
Room 103. Please make an appointment by calling (402) 375-7321.
© 2005 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Permission is granted to copy and reprint materials for
educational purposes only. National Eating Disorders Association
must be cited and web address listed. www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
- Information and Referral Helpline: 800.931.2237
Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor