National Eating Disorder Awareness Week at UMass

what the nutrition club is doing to contribute, eating disorder statistics in college, and helpful resources!

This week marks National Eating Disorder Awareness week in the US. This is an especially important time for college students, among whom eating disorders are becoming more prevalent.

A longitudinal research study was conducted in February 2013 by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The study spanned 13 years and was performed to find the percentage of eating disorders in the college community over time. It was discovered that there was a 17.1% increase among males and a 9% increase among females. The individuals seeking treatment, however, were only treated for the significant weight loss they experienced, rather than their mental health (“CollegiateSurveyProject”).

In an effort to help raise attention to this sensitive problem that affects so many, UMNA (the Umass Nutrition Association) will have a representative at the Rec Center Tuesday – Thursday from 4-7 PM. UMNA will be passing out small, colorful notecards with positive, body affirmations written on each.

Audrey Calianos, the secretary of the club as well as a rep of the popular granola bar, KIND, will be there to handout bars to anyone who wants them as well (so if you just want to stop by for a free snack or learn some helpful/useful information about nutrition and eating disorders, all are welcome!). Audrey had this to say about the event and eating disorders:

What advice would you give someone who is or knows someone who is suffering from an eating disorder?

"Eating disorders can be difficult to talk about, whether you are the person suffering from one or a friend of someone who is. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you could consider talking to a trusted friend, family member, doctor, or even an anonymous helpline. The biggest thing is to remember that you are not alone and that no matter how hard things seem now you do not have to feel the way you do and when you are ready there are so many people who will be ready to support you. If you are a friend of someone who struggles with an eating disorder either approach them about it or if you are very worried about their health consider talking to their parents or a doctor on campus. They may be offended that you approached them or went behind their back, but you have to keep their health and safety in mind."

What do you hope the UMass community will get out of this event/week of awareness?

"The purpose of this event is to spread positivity on the UMass campus. Midterms and Spring break are coming up, both up which cause people to adopt unhealthy habits, so I am hoping to remind students to relax, stay healthy, and smile!"

Do you plan to have future events like this on college campuses knowing the fact that eating disorders among college students (male/female) is increasing?

"Every KIND ambassador across the United States is implementing a version of Project Positivity on their campus this week. KIND believes in doing what is best for your body, your taste buds, and the world so hopefully we will have more projects like this in the future. As for the UMass campus I will try to spread a positive body message every time I pass out KIND bars to students. "

What do you think is causing the increase in eating disorders among college students especially?

"When you are living in a college community there are so many people crammed into one area that it seems no matter where you go it is almost impossible to not compare yourself to the thousands of students around you. Whether you are in class, at the gym, at a party, in the dining hall, or just walking across campus you will always be surrounded by people your age which can be very intimidating. Also, I think that social media plays a big role in body image issues among college age students. There are so many social media platforms filled with people that have, “perfect,” bodies which makes it hard for students to ignore them. So, even when students are alone in their rooms on their phones they are still finding new people to compare themselves to. "

What’s up next for UMNA?

"UMNA is planning to do more events on campus. We want to keep spreading body positivity, because, as nutrition majors, we want people to love food and love their bodies as much as we do. We will be tabling with health information and snacks in the upcoming months, so keep an eye out for us!"


Nutritionist/Physician at Umass Amherst- (413) 577-5101 Monday-Friday 8 AM – 5 PM Est.

Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH)- (413) 545-2337
Monday-Friday 8:30 AM – 5 PM Est.

After-hours Medical and Mental Help Advice at Umass Amherst (CCPH)- (413) 577-5000

National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Helpline – (800) 931-2237
Available Monday-Thursday 9 AM – 9 PM, Friday 9 AM – 5 PM Est.


“CollegiateSurveyProject.” National Eating Disorder Association, Feb. 2013.

Cover Photo Source

“A fork with a yellow tape measure wrapped around it.” psicologia24.It, Psicologia24.

UMass Amherst