Eating disorders affect an estimated 24 million Americans, and 86 percent of those experience onset symptoms by age 20, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).
The UMKC Counseling Center and Women’s Center sponsored the third annual EveryBody Is Beautiful Week to help promote a positive image of one’s body.
As part of the week, the Operation Beautiful campaign encourages students to write positive messages on sticky notes and place them around campus.
Dr. Rachel Pierce, Outreach Coordinator for the UMKC Counseling Center, managed the campaign.
“I think that just by writing them [notes] it makes people stop and think about what they are saying,” she said.
Operation Beautiful is a national campaign that started with one woman who began leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms. The campaign’s mission is to end “fat talk” and to help people realize how destructive it is.”Fat talk” refers to the negative messages about conforming to unrealistic appearance expectations and societal standards of beauty.
A table was set up in Royall Hall last Monday to hand out sticky notes and instructions for those who wished to participate. The table also promoted other events for EveryBody Is Beautiful Week.
The Women’s Center planned to show the documentary “Do I Look Fat?” on Tuesday afternoon, but the event is set to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. The documentary explores eating disorders and body image issues in gay men.
“This is really a misunderstood issue,” Pierce said. “Twenty-five percent of [gay] men have eating disorders. This documentary explores where these body pressures come from.”
The film explains how media messages influence how both men and women see their bodies. According to ANAD, 91 percent of college women surveyed have tried to control their weight through dieting.
The MindBody Connection was scheduled to host a Love the Body You’re In party on Wednesday, but this event was also cancelled due to inclement weather. Pierce said the party will be rescheduled for another date. The event will give students the opportunity to learn and practice ways to care for their bodies in healthy ways.
Students can pick up sticky notes and instructions for the campaign from the counseling center at 4825 Troost Ave., or students can bring their own.
Pierce asked students to simply write “Operation Beautiful” on the notes so as to identify with the campaign.
Pierce recommended placing the notes on bathroom mirrors, bulletin boards or anywhere they will be seen.
“I have been placing them on snack machines around campus where everyone can see them,” she said.
UMKC custodians have agreed to leave the notes in the bathrooms for the duration of EveryBody Is Beautiful Week, but the notes have been taken down.
EveryBody Is Beautiful Week takes place every year during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 24 to March 2.