Support group for eating issues opens for students

Samantha Clark

Consistent interactions with students on the topic of eating issues and disorders on campus have prompted the Counseling and Testing Center to start a new eating disorder support group called Eating for Me.

The new support group began meeting March 21 and will continue to meet on Mondays at 3 p.m. in Downing Student Union room 2113. Meetings are free to all students who attend.

“Alleviating food/eating difficulties improves all areas of life, as these difficulties can be extremely pervasive,” Betsy Pierce, staff psychologist at the center, said in an email.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association website, eating disorders often begin when young people begin to experience the “increased pressure and stress of school and leaving home.”

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders stated on its website that 91 percent of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting, and 25 percent of college-aged women engage in binging and purging as a weight-management technique.

Eating for Me will allow participants to talk about their individual struggles with eating, receive encouragement and input from members and strive to improve coping behaviors. These meetings will be lead by Pierce and Brandi Breden, a registered dietitian.

“We wanted a title that could encompass all kinds of struggles with eating and food, not just the diagnosable disorders,” Pierce said about the group’s name. “Also, the ‘for me’ phrase personalizes how we eat, that eating should be for health and enjoyment, not about weight and how society says we should look.”

A study conducted by NEDA showed that the rate of eating disorders among college students surveyed from one college increased from 7.9 percent to 25.0 percent for males and 23.4 percent to 32.6 percent for females over a 13-year period.

These meetings are confidential and everyone is welcome to attend.

“I encourage [everyone interested] to come try a meeting, even if they choose not to share anything about themselves,” Pierce said.

Students who have questions about the support group can visit the Counseling and Testing Center in DSU. They can also contact Pierce at [email protected] or at 270-745-3159 or contact Breden at [email protected]