Eating disorders in college are on the rise


Photo credit: Briana Mcdaniel

Lorinda Sasan

The years spent in college are pivotal for the future.

Eating disorders plague many college-aged men and women. The university should provide more support for these individuals.

Currently, the student services center offers group therapy for those struggling with sleep or eating disturbances, as well as depression. It provides an array of self-help websites and information.

Although the student services center already offers some help, it’s not enough.

The percentage of Chico State students who know about these resources are limited. A lot of people at this university either have no idea that this was an option or have never used the resources available.

Transitioning to a university setting is one of many reasons why students develop eating disorders. Being in a foreign environment without any support from family causes a lot of stress and there is more school work than in the past.

Some students worry about gaining weight especially the infamous “freshman 15.” There is increased pressure to fit into a narrow beauty ideal, especially while surrounded by peers.

When students actually begin gaining weight, students will compensate by dieting. In a survey, 91 percent of college females engage in dieting behaviors in an attempt to control weight.

Although people diet all the time, it becomes a risk when a person starts using their food intake in an attempt to control a part of their lives when everything else seems out of control. This dangerous thinking can quickly take hold of a stressed out college student.

Over a 13 year period, eating disorders on college campuses increased from 23.4 percent to 32.6 percent in females and 7.9 percent to 25 percent in males, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. This issue is more important than trying to avoid the “freshman 15.” This needs to be taken more seriously on campus.

College students are less likely to seek treatment because they are unaware of their problem, resources available or are too embarrassed to seek help, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Greater funding and resources are needed on college campuses to educate, screen and treat students struggling with eating disorders, according to The Collegiate Survey Project.

Access to education, screenings and mental health resources are critical for early detection and prevention efforts, as well as encouraging people to seek proper treatment, according to the survey.

The Embodied club on campus is an excellent place to start. It discusses “Health and Every Size” concepts and leads the Love Every Body week on campus every February.

It’s likely everyone knows someone who is affected by an eating disorder. Raising awareness and support are the most beneficial ways to combat this problem.

Lorinda Sasan can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.