Editorial: National Eating Disorder Awareness Week at ISU

Editorial Board

Count the calories, spend an extra hour at the gym, skip meals and be thin. Achieving the perfect body is an obsession that reaches both men and women of all ages. While in some cases it’s done the right way, people will more often than not try to meet the societal standard in unhealthy ways. A whopping 35 percent of people who begin dieting in an healthy way will progress to pathological methods to meet their goals.

Having an eating disorder is extremely common but is also something that no one really wants to talk about. Thirty million people suffer from an eating disorder in the United States, but only 35 percent of those afflicted will seek help for their issues, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. That means nearly 20 million people struggle every single day with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, or a combination of any of those disorders.

College campuses are especially impacted by eating disorders. During a 13-year period, eating disorders among men increased from 7.9 percent to 25 percent and from 23.4 percent to 32.6 percent among women.

In hopes of keeping Iowa State’s awareness of eating disorders and just how prevalent they are, both national and campus organizations have come together to sponsor National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This week, the ISU campus will host several different programs, lectures and films to educate and raise awareness for eating disorders. Activities include Honor your Hunger Bake Giveaway, Rock Your Body event in the Memorial Union and a presentation on Athletes and Eating Disorders.

Lowering the number of eating disorders is one of the most important discussions that should take place on college campuses, especially given how many students are impacted and how many suffer silently.

The target age of eating disorders is between 18 and 21. Those three years span the majority of a traditional student’s time in college, which is also one of the most high stress times in a person’s life. All of these factors lend themselves to the development of an eating disorder, which is why raising awareness and removing the stigma associated with coming forward and asking for help is a necessity.

Students should participate in this week’s events to learn about the warning signs and ways to get past any eating disorder because ultimately, having increased education and coping skills on college campuses is the best way to keep these mental disorders from claiming more lives than they already have.