Delta Phi Epsilon stands against anorexia nervosa, other dangerous eating disorder
Delta Phi Epsilon sisters hold vigil to raise awareness of eating disorders
Published: Monday, November 28, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 13:11
The sisters of the College at Brockport's Delta Phi Epsilon chapter (the Deephers) held their first Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) vigil one year after a significant event in the effort to prevent and treat harmful eating disorders occurred.
Isabella Caro, a French model and actress who was a well-known figure in campaigns against anorexia nervosa, died Nov. 17, 2010, of acute respiratory illness.
Caro had battled anorexia nervosa since age 13, and for much of her adult life she weighed between 55 and 70 pounds, according to a CBS news report.
She became an international figure of this dangerous eating disorder when nude photographs of her skeletal figure where used in an Italian health campaign called "No Anorexia."
Her death shined light on a serious mental disorder that kills 10 percent of its sufferers, according to CBS.
According to ANAD, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.
To raise awareness of this danger, the Deephers showed videos of several women's struggles with anorexia nervosa, including Caro's story, during the vigil, which was held Thursday, Nov. 17 in the Union Ballroom.
One of these videos told the story of Ellie, a girl who died at age 14 from complications related to anorexia nervosa. The YouTube video created by her sister states her disorder was fueled by her desire to appear beautiful.
"[What struck me is] how young it hits people," said Cathlin O'May, a Deepher who organized the vigil. "It's scary because no one in [Ellie's] family knew she'd stopped eating."
The Deephers began the vigil by walking across the stage while holding signs on which they had written one thing they dislike about their body image. On the other side of the sign, the sisters wrote one thing they liked about their body image.
One sign read, "I hate my frizzy hair." When the Deepher turned the sign around, it read, "but I love my nose."
This was intended to promote a positive body image, because a negative body image and poor self-esteem are risk factors for an eating disorder.
"It gave people the opportunity to acknowledge things (they like and dislike) about themselves," said Rebecca Wright, a Deepher who helped organize the vigil. "We (also) wanted to make people more comfortable being here."
As part of ANAD week, the Deephers held events to promote a positive body image in the days before the vigil, including a "Mirror-less Monday," Nov. 14 and a "Think Again Thursday," Nov. 17 in which they deconstructed the Barbie doll image to point out how a very small percent of American females possess the "perfect" body type portrayed in media.
"We wanted to show it's important to focus on the (part of yourself) you love, rather than the part you hate," O'May said.
College students are particularly at risk for eating disorders, because 95 percent of those with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26, according to ANAD.
ANAD claims the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all other causes of death for females 15 to 24 years old.
An eating disorder is not necessarily a pattern of starving oneself (anorexia nervosa) or vomiting after consuming food (bulimia nervosa). ANAD defines behaviors such as excessive exercising, skipping meals, laxative abuse or excessively restricting calories as eating disorder behavior.
An eating disorder can have significant impacts on one's heart, muscular system, digestive system, bones, body temperature, hair growth and can inhibit other mental disorders, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder.
For more information on eating disorders, visit www.anad.org. Students struggling with unhealthy eating behaviors can also seek the college's counseling center for help.
I will accept myself as I am.
I will accept others as they are.
I will support diversity and freedom of expression in the way people think, look and live.
I will not tolerate physical or mental abuse.
I will actively participate in efforts to change media programming and advertising that exploit or demean the human body.
I will work to improve the lives of individuals, communities and the environment.
I will support programs that encourage good health through proper nutrition, regular exercise and adequate sleep.