Activities set for Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week at ISU, Feb. 25-28

AMES, Iowa -- An estimated 25 percent of college students suffer from eating disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But only a fraction seek help. That's why Iowa State University's Student Counseling Service has sponsored on-campus activities during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week for more than 15 years.

"People who are struggling often feel alone, isolated and ashamed; the eating disorder isolates them from friends and family. We want to let them know we are here to help and offer support through recovery," said Michelle Roling, a certified eating disorder specialist at Student Counseling Service.

"The sooner someone can reach out for services, the greater their chances for full, sustained recovery," she said.

This year's "Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week" activities at Iowa State begin on Monday, Feb. 25, with a showing of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival documentary, "Miss Representation." The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. in 101 Carver, and will be followed by a question-and-answer panel discussion.

The film addresses the lack of positive portrayals of women in the media through startling statistics, media clips and interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric and others.  According to the film, the collective message of media — the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms — is that a woman's value lies in her youth, beauty and sexuality.

A wellness resource fair and group fitness sessions will be in State Gym from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. The "Rock Your Body" party includes Zumba, meditation, yoga and mindful yoga sessions.

An open house will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Margaret Sloss Women's Center in conjunction with a body image art gallery. The art on display is a collection completed by various ISU students.

The "Thin Line: Breaking the Silence on Eating Disorders" will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb 28, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. "The Thin Line" uses live theater to begin the conversation about eating disorders and reduce the stigma surrounding this mental illness. It illustrates the pain of one girl's struggle and her loved ones' resolve to understand and help, revealing the devastating impact eating disorders have on all involved. A professional actor plays the four characters with distinct voices. Immediately following the play, members of the Iowa State University eating disorder treatment team will discuss how to access services at Iowa State and lead a question-and-answer session. A reception will follow.

Information about Iowa State's on-campus activities is available online. The activities are presented by Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa, ISU Student Counseling Service, Program for Women in Science and Engineering, ISU Committee on Lectures, graduate students of education and clinical psychology, Division of Student Affairs, Student Athlete Affairs, Collegiate Panhellenic Council, College of Human Sciences, departments of Kinesiology and Food Science and Human Nutrition.

In addition, the Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa will sponsor activities from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at Waukee High School. More information about these seminars and events is available online at

Iowa State's Student Counseling Service offers counselors who provide eating disorder treatment through assessment, individual counseling and group therapy. For more information, contact Student Counseling at 294-5056, or visit their offices on the third floor of the Student Services Building.