Image by Mike Baird courtesy of Creative Commons
Carolina Barreto/Contributing Writer
Perhaps playing too much with our Barbies and G.I. Joes developed our monstrous fixation on body image, but Student Health Services thinks it is time students move their attention away from unrealistic and unhealthy proportions.
On Thursday, Oct. 17, the department will be hosting Love Your Body Day – an event promoting self-acceptance and a positive body image. Students are invited to enjoy free food, a major raffle and an open forum discussion. It will take place in the Graham Center Ballrooms from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
“[Body image is] the way that you see yourself when you look in the mirror,” said Christine Tellez, dietitian of SHS. “Often times the way we see ourselves may not be the way we actually look.”
Tellez said triggers to these negative outlooks include low self-esteem, messages from the media that portray men and women in unrealistic ways and pressure from family and friends.
Past studies have revealed that 25-40 percent of U.S. college students have negative body images.
Tellez said that this skewed image breeds discomfort that leads students to extreme levels of weight and body control behaviors resulting in low self-esteem, out-of-control dieting, excessive exercising, steroids and mental disorders.
Tellez brought to light a survey among college women in which 91 percent admitted to dieting to control their weight, a symptom that Tellez said is of poor body image.
“It is more prevalent among women as well as among athletes,” said Tellez.
A study conducted by the Journal of American College Health showed that 88.2 percent of college women athletes believed themselves to be overweight.
The event will target all students, however. Last year, Student Health Services partnered with the Women’s Center for “Love Your Vagina,” an event strictly for women.
Although it was positively recognized, they received complaints from males at the University. After conducting research, Senior Health Director Ebonie Parris said they decided on the Love Your Body Day event because it is all-inclusive.
To divert their conscious from its unhealthy obsession with body image, students are encouraged to attend Thursday’s event where they will get any unanswered questions about their body addressed by experts rather than relying on fluke advice from Yahoo Answers.
There will be free stress management and nutrition consultations. A dietician and practitioner from the SHS clinic will teach healthier eating habits. Parris and Albert Garcia, former member of SALSA (a program that conducted sexual health presentations), will be guest speakers at the event.
As said by Christine Tellez, “It is important for us to love our bodies because we need to accept that all of us come in different shapes and sizes, and there is no one mold that all women and men fit into,” Tellez said.