The University of Mississippi Nutrition Clinic, sports dietitians and other organizations have set up several events this week to recognize National Eating Disorder Awareness.
Hillary Ake, registered dietitian at Ole Miss, organized the week of events to support National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
“I think there are misconceptions of mental illnesses and eating disorders because they are kind of sensitive topics, and people don’t like to talk about them,” Ake said. “It is always good to put something like this in the spotlight, so that people are aware of it, and it can educate people.”
This week is important to Ake and others involved in the events because they want to encourage students to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Meghan Edwards, fitness graduate assistant with the department of campus recreation, will be teaching a free yoga class Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in the Turner Center. Edwards believes yoga promotes self-love and care not only on the mat but also in other aspects of life.
“If poor body image and a related eating disorder is one of those places, yoga may help improve upon that image and serve as a reminder that it is important to love and take care of yourself, on and off of the mat,” Edwards said.
In addition to the free yoga class instructed by Edwards, there will also be free surveys students can access online throughout the week.
Ake said the surveys are designed to be confidential for students to take and to see what personal habits they may have with eating. If they realize they have any bad habits, Ake and others are there for support and guidance.
In a research study approved by Pace University’s Institutional Review Board on the National Eating Disorder Awareness website, 165 college campuses were surveyed and found that 73 percent of colleges offer NEDAwareness week activities. Of the colleges, 94.1 percent stated the activities were somewhat important, 36.1 percent said they activities were very important and 58 percent said they were simply important.
Ake said it has been a few years since the university has offered events for NEDAwareness week.
“It is always good to bring issues like this out on a college campus, especially where they have been shown to be so prevalent on other college campuses,” she said.
Janie Cole, registered dietitian and adjunct instructor in nutrition and hospitality management at Ole Miss, wants students to know that the organizations promoting this week are there for students.
“It helps to get the word out that this is a real problem, that people are not alone, and that there are people who care and will help,” Cole said.