Virginia Tech’s Eating Disorders Task Force is working to ensure the university’s students have the information they need to combat various eating disorders with its annual Eating Issues and Body Awareness Week March 19 through 23.

The week features a series of events designed to help students identify the causes of different eating disorders and to promote healthy eating practices as well as positive and realistic attitudes towards body image.

These activities are especially important on college campuses, where up to 40 percent of female students suffer from disordered eating, said Schiffert Health Center’s Medical Director Dr. Noelle Bissell. She added that approximately 7 percent of male college students struggle with these issues, as well.

“I think it’s important to recognize that eating disorders are much more prevalent on college campuses than we think,” Bissell said. “There are most certainly underlying issues and probably a predisposition, but societal pressures about looks and unrealistic body image perceptions — Barbie, Photoshopping — along with typical college stress compound problems. There’s also denial and enabling in the college environment.”

The events comprising the awareness week are structured around helping students deal with these pressures and learn what they can do to build and maintain healthful, confident attitudes about themselves.

All events are free and open to Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff unless otherwise noted.

The week includes several activities:

  • Ask a Professional! Expo on Wednesday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in McComas Hall. Attendees can participate in a screening for the general public to gauge healthy eating attitudes, speak to a nutrition student about health eating, discuss exercising with a personal trainer, and learn more about the services offered by Healthy Paths, Virginia Tech’s team of professionals who work to provide support and referral services for eating disorders. There will also be giveaway prizes and a raffle. The expo is sponsored by Cook Counseling Center; the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; the Department of Recreational Sports; and Schiffert Health Center.
  • Yoga for the Body and Mind, Monday, March 19, from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in both studios in McComas Hall. This event will focus on stress relief and mindful relaxation.
  • Strength Training for Women, Wednesday, March 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the McComas Hall weight room. Female personal trainers will be on hand to show women how to begin lifting weights, use weight machines, and incorporate weights into their workout routines. The event is open to female students, faculty, and staff only.

See the Schiffert website for the full schedule.

Another part of the week’s events is the promotion of a free program that is available upon request for classes and student organizations.  A Walk Down Recovery Lane features Kelsey Muffler of Alexandria, Va., a senior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, who shares an honest account of her struggle with eating disorders and her recovery. She discusses myths about eating disorders, how to help friends or family members suffering from eating disorders, different types of recovery, prevention, and available resources at Virginia Tech. Email Schiffert Health Center or call 540-231-1874 to request this program for a class or student organization.

With a visitor’s pass, parking for McComas Hall is available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Coliseum Lot located along Washington Street and Spring Road. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located at 965 Prices Fork Road, near the intersection of Prices Fork and University City Boulevard next to the Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. A visitor’s pass may also be obtained from the Virginia Tech Police Station, located on Sterrett Drive, outside of the Visitor Information Center hours. 

After 5 p.m., free parking is available in the Coliseum Lot located along Washington Street and Spring Road. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200.



Written by Jennifer Gibson.

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