National Eating Awareness Week

The Problem

We are living in a society filled with images of "role models" that have been suffering with their weight, to keep their jobs. Children and especially teens have been subject to watch, admire, and look up to those models. Now as a part of the "Body Rocks Club," a local Las Vegas High school has implemented awareness programs that warns high school students of the dangers of eating disorders and poor body image. As a resolution, we are promoting awareness of eating disorders by hosting our 3rd Annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Yearly, our club celebrates NEDAW and "Love Your Body Day" where in 2008, we collected over 1500 signatures to send to the media to tell them to start showing more reality of eating disorders and less of the supermodels and dieting.

Plan of Action

This is our action plan and we are excited! NEDAW is February 23-27th. The key message for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2009 – “Be comfortable in your genes. Wear jeans that fit the TRUE you.” – ties into NEDA's signature event, the Great Jeans Giveaway. We are collecting jeans to donate to the less fortunate, while raising awarness. All week long our school will be promoting awareness. Our theme is "Be comfortable in your own jeans". We have asked all of our school to donate any jeans that don't fit the real YOU. All jeans will be donated to a homeless shelter and to the Aeropostle Homeless Jean Drive! Last year we collected 486 pairs of jeans! Club Members will recieve NEDAW "Body Tags" that give facts and statistics of eating disorders to wear all week. It's up to us to use our voice and let this week be heard! In our main hallway, we have "jeans" hanging from the ceiling. Our school marque promotes "ED Awareness Week". Morning announcements of statistics and facts are being announced LOUD and CLEAR throughout our school. Our school is full of signs and jeans that have been donated. Our club works hard to raise money for awareness. All the money we make stays in our school to purchase items needed to continue to raise awareness. Ribbons, Bracelets, and other misc items are the awareness items we are selling to promote awareness. Bracelets read "My Body Rocks". "Body Rocks" T-Shirts are worn by club members EVERY Thursday. This week, we will have an informational display at a table with handouts, help guides, handmade bookmarks and much more for students to recieve. Our club was featured in a local magazine for it's effort to promote positive body image. The impact we have made with our efforts has truly made a difference as many students did not know what an ED was. Additionally, our goal is to someday be able to attend an ED conference so we may be further educated, and have the resources to give students and teachers the keys and tools in preventing ED. With little money, we stretch this as far as we can. We have also been fortunate to work with University of Nevada, Las Vegas the last 3 years as they have implemented a "Body Image Study" twice a semester on our freshman students. Our results have come back yearly and wiuth those results, those who suffer from an ED are offered free treatment and counseling through the university. This is very rewarding as some of our students are poor. We receive local support from providers who treat ED. Local support as in educational information, NOT SERVICES! We have implemented a Facebook account. Also, we are entering a NEDAW Essay Contest. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week highlights the fact that body size and shape are strongly influenced by biological factors – such as genetics, while also calling attention to some of the new discoveries surrounding the role of genetics in the development of eating disorders. Too often individuals struggle against their natural, genetically influenced size just to fit into that pair of “skinny jeans” in the back of their closets. Fighting your natural size and shape can lead to unhealthy dieting practices, poor body image and sometimes eating disorders. While you can adopt a healthy lifestyle and aim to be fit for your particular body type, you cannot change your genes. We want everyone to start feeling comfortable in their genes by wearing comfortable jeans. The Great Jeans Giveaway events empower individuals to donate old (or new) pairs of jeans that do not comfortably fit. While key messaging focuses on helping individuals feel at ease with their natural size, the use of the word “genes” within the message also provides a foundation for addressing the fact that eating disorders are serious illnesses, not choices. Everyday, researchers are discovering more about the influence of genetics on eating disorders and finding that while environmental factors may pull the trigger, genetics loads the gun.

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