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Concerns about eating disorders rise at CU
From exercising to eating right, Boulder, is known as one of the fittest cities in the nation. Recognized in several publications like Shape Magazine and Men’s Health, Boulder was also voted the “Thinnest City in America” in Self Magazine’s annual “Healthiest City in America” ranking for women.
With this reputation in mind, some students at the University of Colorado feel that there is a pressure to be thin. “There is a lot of pressure put on students in college in general, but in Boulder you’re surrounded by beautiful people all the time,” said CU senior Casey Endo.
At least ten million women and one million men suffer from eating disorders across the nation. A 2005 National Eating Disorder Association survey reported that 20 percent of college students admitted to struggling with an eating disorder. In response, health officials said that the college years pose some of the highest risk factors for eating disorders, exercise and body image.
Female students at the University of Colorado have nearly doubled the national average for eating disorders at 3.8 percent for anorexia, and 4.2 percent for bulimia, according to the American Health Association & National College Health Assessment.
Gabrielle Zunde, a senior at the University of Colorado said that she has been struggling with an eating disorder for over five years. Her battle with body image has been a lifelong struggle. “It was very exhausting, my grades were slipping and I wasn’t having good relationships with my friends,” said Zunde.
Beginning college is a landmark for many young people and a key step toward adulthood. However, for some, it also can be an episode that pushes them into a dangerous battle with eating disorders.
Eating disorders can also lead to long-term health problems, and even death. For any young people who suspect they might be developing an eating disorder, Strife encourages them to seek help at free campus counseling centers or family doctor.
According to Wardenberg Health Center clinician Samantha Strife, the most common signs of an eating disorder include:
• A preoccupation with calculating calories, fat grams and carbohydrate grams
• A need to weigh oneself more than once a day
• Allowing the numbers on the scale to determine mood
• Exercising, skipping meals or purging after overeating
• Exercising to burn calories rather than for health or for fun
• An inability to stop eating once eating begins
• Eating in secret
• Feeling guilty, ashamed or disgusted after overeating
• Basing self-worth on looks or weight
• Worrying continuously about weight and body shape
• Abusing diet pills or laxatives