The Body Acceptance Movement, the student organization I created as part of practicum experience for my MPH, planned and implemented programming for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 25 – March 1). As some of you know, I’ve done programming at my undergrad, Bowling Green State University, as president of the Student Wellness Network (SWN). SWN is an affiliate of the BACCHUS Network (a national peer education organization) and we attended the BACCHUS Network’s General Assembly every year and submit applications for recognition/funding of our programming at BGSU. I submitted an application for Outstanding Mental Health Program for our NEDAW, and guess what? WE WON! We were not only recognized at the national conference, but were also featured in their Peer Educator Magazine (see images of the magazine and article below)
BAM did a lot of the same programming at Kent State University, and we received a lot of wonderful responses! Starting off the week, I presented my Love Your Body Workshop to 22 students and faculty at the Student Health Center. My workshop addressed positive and negative body image, assessed attendees’ body perceptions, touched on some of the adverse health outcomes of body dissatisfaction, how different cultures perceive body image, the media’s role in body image in society, as well as how they can obtain a positive body image and help others. I used an evaluation to capture some data. According to the evaluation responses after the presentation, one of the reasons why participants attended, 55 percent reported they attend in hopes of learning about to obtain a positive body image.
The evaluation also found that 46 percent of participants found out through this presentation that they have a negative body image, while 81 percent of participants reported that they learned through the presentation at least two ways to turn their negative body image thoughts into positive ones and 68 percent reported that as a result of this presentation, they feel better about their body image. Seventy-seven percent of participants wished there were more events like this workshop offered on campus. Also, 82 percent of participants reported that as a result of this event, they are more aware of campus resources for body image related issues.
On the second and first day of NEDAW we held an outreach/informational table at the KSU Student Center. A visual depiction of the dimensions of what Barbie AND Ken Dolls would look like if they were real people were displayed, which received a lot of attention. Students were also asked to vent their frustrations to the scale, pick up some handouts and resources related to eating disorders and body image as well as an eating disorders awareness ribbon.
The table reached approximately 50 people through the two days.
On the third day of NEDAW we had TWO events! We held a panel discussion on eating disorders and body image. The panel included the Director of Women’s Studies who also teaches courses on body image, myself, and three other female students recovering from an eating disorder who are part of BAM. The panel discussion had a total of 15 students and faculty in attendance, only 11 filled out the program evaluation.
As a result of the panel discussion, 63 percent of the 11 attendees who filled out the evaluation reported that they are more aware of campus resources for body image related issues. A common thread to why participants attended the event was because they or someone they know have an eating disorder and they wanted to learn more about the disease. Another common thread about what participants liked most about the event was the panelists’ stories and 91 percent of attendees reported that they plan on sharing what they learned to family and friends. The panel discussion was covered by KSU’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Kent Stater and was featured on the front page the next day.
Also on the third day of NEDAW, BAM held a yoga session titled, Love Your Body Yoga. The emphasis during the session was to focus on the movements and appreciate all the things their body can do. The total count of attendees was 25, and all received a FREE yoga mat!! 🙂
All week students were encouraged to donate jeans that no longer fit to one of four drop-off locations for the campaign Be Comfortable in Your Own Genes. Wear Jeans that fit the REAL You! which was created by the National Eating Disorders Association. All jeans were donated to a local shelter, County Clothing Center in Ravenna, Ohio. We collected around 100 pairs of jeans!
We were featured in the Daily Kent Stater THREE times in one week – twice of which was on the FRONT PAGE.
I was VERY pleased with the outcome of KSU’s NEDAW 2013!! I’m hoping my predecessor will continue with BAM’s goals and efforts to promoting positive body image. 🙂