Wednesday, February 13, 2008

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week at Clayton State

The Clayton State University School of Nursing, Department of Recreation and Wellness, Department of Dental Hygiene and the Office of Counseling Services are joining together to sponsor programs in conjunction with the 21st National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW), Feb. 24 to Mar. 1.

Sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), this is the nation’s largest eating disorders outreach effort. During the week, hundreds of volunteer activists across the country will partner with NEDA to help individuals in their communities to “Embrace Their Genes.”

Locally, the offices of Counseling Services, Recreation and Wellness, and the Departments of Dental Hygiene and Nursing are collaborating to bring awareness to Clayton State and the local community. Programming will include participation in the annual Great Jeans Giveaway, which is NEDA’s signature event for the national awareness week, used to reinforce the message “Embrace Your Genes, Wear Jeans that Fit the TRUE You.” The event asks participants to bring in old pairs of jeans because 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 even eating disorders,” says Elaina Chance, assistant director, Outreach and Prevention, for Clayton State’s Office of Counseling Services.

Bins for donating jeans will be placed in academic buildings throughout the Clayton State campus. Other planned programs for Clayton State are:

“Lunch and Learn” Workshop for Clayton State students, faculty and staff on Feb. 26 in room TEC 118 on the University’s Technology Building from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. A video presentation of “How You Look Is Not Who You Are?” will be shown. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to discuss how messages from the media influence their own personal body image. A free lunch will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

The “Love Your Body Fair” will be held on Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons area of the James M. Baker Center featuring free screenings, giveaways, door prizes and much more.

“We’ll celebrate our bodies and the `Genes We Are In!’” says Chance.

Also on Feb. 27 will be a free Belly Dancing Class for women from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Location TBA.)

“Come and celebrate your body with a professional belly dancer from one of Atlanta’s premier dance studios,” says Chance. “The class will include an instructional overview of the history and artistic expression of belly dancing. Come early, space is limited.”

While the 2008 key message of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week highlights the fact that body size and shape are strongly influenced by biological factors, it also calls attention to some of the new discoveries surrounding the role of genetics in the development of eating disorders and supports the fact that eating disorders are serious illnesses, not choices. Everyday researchers are discovering more about the influence of genetics and finding that while environmental factors may pull the trigger, but genetics loads the gun.

For information about eating disorders and other NEDAW events, please contact Tera Watkins ( or Chance (

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

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