Understanding Eating Disorders (Part 4)
Even though college is an exciting time for most students, it can also bring multiple challenges. Some of these issues may result in the development of eating disorders. Since about 10-20% of female students and 4-10% of male students have symptoms of eating disorders, it is crucial to increase their awareness of these ailments.
Increasing Rate Of Eating Disorders Among College Students
During the past 10 years, the number of college students with eating disorders has been increasing significantly. Statistics show the following trends:
- Most affected people are aged from 18 to 21;
- In 35% of cases, young people’s diets become excessive;
- 20-25% of the students who adhere to diets develop eating disorders.
There are multiple reasons for this drastic increase. They include the stress of keeping good academic results, anxiety, depression and engagement into substance abuse. Moreover, the transition from high school to college and new-found independence from parents can become overwhelming for some students. Many of the foods served at dining halls are unhealthy, which can trigger uncontrolled eating behaviors in the individuals prone to binge-eating.
Choosing A College
The individuals with eating disorders who plan to go to college should do careful research before choosing a particular educational institution. The college of their choice has to have a compassionate staff that will offer effective counseling services, strong educational programs, medical help, and support services whenever necessary. There are certain criteria points used to evaluate colleges and universities by their ability to provide support to the individuals with or prone to eating disorders. These criteria include the presence of:
- Counseling center. Make sure that the college of your choice has special programs, staff members and nutritionist services engaged in the therapy for eating disorders.
- Screening facilities. These screenings need to be offered throughout the academic year.
- Support groups. These groups should meet daily or weekly to support the individuals who’re overcoming an eating disorder.
- Workshops. They are provided by many educational institutions, but their frequency may vary from daily workshops to those held only once a semester. Make sure that your college offers the frequency that suits you.
- Education coordinator is a person who works with other campus officials to arrange workshops, courses and programs focused on increasing the awareness of eating disorders among students.
- Courses. Your college needs to offer classes that deal with nutrition, healthy diet, eating disorders, and other related issues.
- Residence life programs. These services should be available on a regular basis.
- Peer advisors. They provide enormous support to students with eating disorders.
- Prevention programs for athletes. They include special nutrition and lifestyle recommendations for college athletes.
- Library resources. Your college needs to provide printed information on eating disorders not only in the health centers, but also in the libraries.