Eating Disorders Addressed at R-C

Eating Disorders Addressed at R-C Obesity has rightfully gained the national spotlight for its serious ramifications on the health of more and more Americans each year. But those suffering with other eating disorders, which may not be as physically apparent, shouldn’t be left in the shadows. A team of Rutgers–Camden students, led by eating behavior expert Charlotte Markey, is leaving no chance for negative thoughts about appearance this week as a handful of positive quotes will be temporarily etched on the mirrors of women and men’s bathrooms across campus. Called “Positive Reflections,” the campaign is designed to raise awareness during Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 20-26.

Markey, an associate professor of psychology, runs the Healthy Development Lab at Rutgers–Camden. Her research has revealed links between parents’ weight concerns and weight gain among kids; how spouses’ eating impacts one another; and most recently, how lesbian couples contribute to each other’s well-being. She’s also found that men aren’t nearly as critical of women’s bodies as women are of their own as well as the chilling impact of reality television on one’s desires for plastic surgery.

“Everyone deals with expectations of health and beauty. As obesity has gained national support, we should also be mindful of healthy ways to diet. Research now shows that when people try to diet, it can backfire and predict obesity or other eating disorders,” says Markey. “The focus should be on eating healthy and just feeling good about ourselves.”

Rutgers–Camden undergraduates Caitlin Ellis and Stephanie Leconey serve as research assistants in Markey’s Healthy Development Lab. The two identified 10 reflections they will temporarily write on the mirrors. Examples include, “Beauty comes as much from the mind as the eye,” “Everybody is unique. Compare not yourself with anybody else,” and “Our body is a vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” Ellis, who has worked with Markey for the past three semesters, says she hopes fellow students will gain awareness about the prevalence and severity of eating disorders. “I believe that although eating disorders can be as dangerous and life threatening as drug and alcohol addiction, but with the right information, resources, and treatment, eating disorders can have a high rate of success in recovery,” offers Ellis, who will present with Markey in March at the annual Women in Psychology conference in Philadelphia.

In addition, Markey and students will be blanketing the campus with flyers explaining the campaign, offering resources for treatment, and listing some haunting facts about eating disorders. Leconey, who assists Markey with the lesbian couples study and other research projects, thought other students would be surprised that 10 million females and one million males are struggling with an eating disorder. “I hope [this campaign] will promote acceptance of students’ own bodies as well as increase awareness that these disorders are not just exclusive to women, but that men also suffer from eating disorders,” Leconey remarks. These staggering numbers are why the men’s rooms will also feature the affirmations.

Markey encourages those who might be experiencing an eating disorder, male or female, to take it seriously and seek treatment by calling the helpline (1-800-931-2237) or visiting NationalEatingDisorders.org. And for those teetering on problematic eating issues, perhaps the positive quotes will provide some inspiration.

“What are written on the mirrors are reminders that your physical self is only a small part of who you are as a person,” implores Markey on the flyer. “This week, try to reflect on your positive qualities – both internal and external features that make you unique.”

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Author: Press Release--Rutgers-Camden

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