By: Madison Wait
In an effort to raise awareness and encourage the prevention of eating disorders, Gardner-Webb will host an eating disorders awareness week, from March 14- 19.
According to Gardner-Webb’s NewsCenter, the university’s awareness week will consist of several events to promote healthy body images, including documentary showings and the “Southern Smash.” Additionally, to end the week, Gardner-Webb will be hosting its fourth annual Everybody Knows Somebody 5k walk/run. The 3.1-mile course tours Gardner-Webb’s campus, as well as the town of Boiling Springs.
“There are a lot of people who struggle with eating disorders, and [the 5k] is a good way to introduce people who don’t know [about it] to get an idea of how to help,” said junior Kelsey Carithers, a first-time participant of the 5k.
While eating disorders affect people of all ages and genders, they are more prominent among college students. According to a survey conducted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in 2006, “nearly 20 percent of the more than 1,000 college students surveyed – both male and female – said they had or previously had eating disorders.”
The NEDA also found that about 91 percent of college females have attempted to control their weight by harsh dieting. In an
attempt to change the mindset that harsh dieting is the only way to effectively lose weight, the NEDA advocates 5k walks/runs, as they represent a healthy approach to dieting and exercise.
Moreover, the 5k walk/run is designed to “spread awareness about eating disorders and encourages those with, or without, [eating disorders] to consider their health,” said Carithers.
Carithers also said that she hopes this event will encourage those with eating disorders to reach out for help. “Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness; in fact it is a sign of strength to overcome what is trying to overcome you.”
To register in advance for the Everybody Knows Somebody 5k walk/run, visit gardner-webb.edu/everybody-5k. Registration on the day of the event will begin at 7:30 a.m. Entry fees are $10 for students, $15 for GWU faculty and $20 for adults. T-shirts are $12. All proceeds from the event will benefit local eating disorder treatment centers.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, as well as treatment options, visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.