CSU, Chico News

Love Every Body Week Events Offer Information and Discussion

Date: 02-22-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Stephanie Chervinko
Counseling and Wellness
530- 898-6345

There is a dark side to the American obsession with body image and dieting, and that is the presence of eating disorders in millions of people’s lives. Several groups at California State University, Chico, are joining nations around the world in presenting Love Every Body Week to raise awareness about eating disorders and promote body acceptance.

According to statistics compiled by the National Eating Disorders Association, it is estimated that Americans spend $40 billion annually on diet products. Up to 35 percent of normal dieters will progress to pathological dieting, and of those, 20 percent will develop partial or full-blown eating disorders. All told, it is estimated that in the United States at least 10 million women and 1 million men are battling an eating disorder.

“Unfortunately, college campuses are often breeding grounds for disordered eating,” said Stephanie Chervinko, a psychologist at CSU, Chico’s Counseling and Wellness Center who is assisting in the organizing of the week’s events. “One survey of college students reported that they would prefer to marry an embezzler, drug user, shoplifter, or blind person than someone who is fat. In a sample of Chico State students surveyed in 2007, 9-28 percent said they had experienced at least one symptom of disordered eating in the past year.” For example, 9 percent of the female respondents said they had lost a period due to low weight, and 28 percent said they felt fat even though others said they were thin.

Eating disorders can be life threatening. In fact, without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with serious eating disorders die a premature death. The good news, said Chervinko, is that with treatment, that number falls to 2-3 percent. She suggests that successful prevention of eating problems will require society-wide efforts to improve the self-esteem of college-aged men and women and increase awareness regarding the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape these disorders.

Local Love Every Body Week events are sponsored by the Wellness Center, Residence Hall Association, AS Women’s Center, Nutrition and Food Sciences Association, Wildcat Recreation Center, Student Health Services, Prime Time Productions, Cross-Cultural Leadership Center and University Housing and Food Services.

The following events are open to the public:

Wednesday, March 2
The Unexpected Path to Body Peace

BMU 210—noon-1:00 p.m.
Discover how to crack the code of negative body image and transform your perceptions of how you feel about your bodies from inside out. This talk explores the common factors that improve body image and the pathways to follow for more positive body image at every size.

Wednesday, March 2
Road to Recovery: A Panel Discussion

BMU 210—5:30-7:00 p.m.
Panelists will share experiences of recovering from an eating disorder. Participants will gain insight into the recovery process.

Thursday, March 3
“Andrea’s Voice: Silenced by Bulimia”

U-HUB (between Tehama and Whitney)—6:00-7:30 p.m.
Doris Smeltzer talks about her daughter’s death from bulimia. She takes you into the heart and mind of a disordered eater. With the knowledge gained from extensive personal research and her daughter's words, Smeltzer describes the contributing factors, warning signs, harmful trigger, and the components of effective treatment. Doris has devoted her life to eating disorder prevention since her daughter Andrea’s death at 19. She holds a Master’s in counseling psychology, is the author of Andrea’s Voice, Gürze Book’s “Advice for Parents” blog and other publications.

For more information, contact Chervinko by phone at 530-898-6345 or by e-mail at schervinko@csuchico.edu.