CSUN program fights against eating disorders and body image issues

Eating disorders are more common on college campuses than people may think. In fact, it can often lead to death.

Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness in adolescents, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD.)

With television, magazines and movies at the foreground of our society, it isn’t uncommon to hear of people struggling with body image issues, feeling the pressures of measuring up to the people in the media.

Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating (JADE), is a peer education program offered at CSUN to help students who may be going through personal body image issues who have developed an eating disorder.

“Unfortunately disordered eating is very common on college campuses and can lead to further problems down the road,” said Veronica Stotts, staff psychologist and JADE coordinator. “JADE works to break the stereotype that there is a typical profile for someone with an eating disorder.”

According to ANAD’s website, 86 percent of college students report the onset of an eating disorder by the age of 20 and 95 percent of those who have an eating disorder are between 12 and 25-years-old.

“In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58 percent felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83 percent that dieted for weight loss, 44 percent were of normal weight,” according to NADA’s website. “Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors, such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.”

JADE helps students dealing with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified, or EDNOS.

Stotts said these disorders can affect both men and women and aren’t limited to any single age, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic class.

She said that body dissatisfaction has actually increased for men over the last 10 years.

Collin Johnson, 20-year-old health administration major, is one of the many students who was affected by this dissatisfaction. He said he has always dealt with body image issues in regards to his slim size, and has always felt self-conscious about being the smallest kid on his sports teams.

To help gain more confidence and change the way he perceived himself, Johnson said he started working out.

“Unfortunately we are often aspiring to look like the supposed cultural ideal presented to us in the media while the model herself or himself does not even look like that,” Stotts said. “It sets up a very unhealthy dynamic for young people and can lead to disordered eating.”

JADE uses different forms of outreach to teach about eating disorders. They present in classrooms as well as do a number of different events to raise awareness, such as “Love Your Body Day,” “No Diet Day,” and this year’s theme, “Celebrate Every BODY.”

If students are dealing with these various issues, they can meet with a counselor at University Counseling Services who can help them find a treatment plan.