Educational Activities To Spotlight Eating Disorders


Maintaining healthy eating habits as well as a positive body image will be the focus of Maryville University’s observance of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which runs from February 26 to March 2. Maryville’s events are sponsored by the Office of Personal Counseling.

Planned events include a presentation on Monday, Feb. 26, by representatives from Castlewood Treatment Center, a local residential treatment center for persons with eating disorders. The presentation will provide information about the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, and will include testimonials from two individuals in recovery, followed by a question-and-answer session. The event will be held in the University Auditorium from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

In addition, there will be information tables set up in the dining hall and various other campus locations all week. On Tuesday, the Office of Personal Counseling staff, as well as dietetic intern Karen Shaffer and nursing intern Alicia Loser, will be available to answer questions at a nutrition / health consultation and information table in the dining hall between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

“The focus will be on positive nutrition,” said Jennifer Henry, director of personal counseling. “We’re going to be addressing the risks of restricting calories, the dangers of dieting, how much water to drink, how to read food labels to ensure proper nutrition; basically, how to take good care of yourself physically.”

Eating disorders are a significant issue worth addressing on a college campus because they are “prevalent,” said Henry. “The majority of college students, regardless of gender, don’t suffer from a clinically diagnosable eating disorder, but from disordered eating and body image issues. And if a male student does not have a problem, then he probably knows a female who does,” she said.

The Office of Personal Counseling is also sponsoring “Be Comfortable In Your Own Genes: The Great Jeans Giveaway” all week. This is a chance for individuals to get rid of any jeans that are uncomfortable or contribute to a negative self-image. “We all have a pair that we think we might again fit in, or that we stuff ourselves into,” said Henry. “It’s about accepting your body type for what it is and focusing on being a healthy person.” The collected jeans will be donated to the Saint Louis Transitional Hope House. Last year, 80 pairs of jeans were collected and donated to the Saint Louis Transitional Hope House, a regional shelter for women and children. Donations will be accepted in Duchesne Hall, Room170, and in the Donius University Center’s Campus Café.  Jeans can be for males, females or children.

The TV monitors around campus also will show in a continuous loop a one-minute clip by Dove®  called “Evolution,” which depicts (in acceleration) the physical and digital manipulation processes a model goes through before appearing on a billboard. The video is available on the Dove website,, and means to demonstrate how skewed and unnatural society’s standards for beauty have become.

All programs and events are free and open to all Maryville students, faculty and staff, and the public. For more information, contact Personal Counseling at 314-529-9518.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies. Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.