By Anja Rosales
Monday marked the beginning of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and the Baylor Body IQ team is taking action.
During this week, the Body IQ team, consisting of professional Baylor staff, will hold conversations on various body image topics until March 1.
Dr. Emma Wood is a psychologist at Baylor and serves as the chair of the Body IQ team. Wood said the theme of the week will be “I had no idea.” She said how most people do not realize they have an eating disorder until professionals bring it to their attention.
“Our goal is to bring awareness and hopefully assist with helping those who need it,” Wood said. “The Body IQ team will facilitate conversational discussions for anyone and everyone who wants to participate.”
There will be four conversations during the week.
Monday’s conversation covered women of color and body image. At noon today in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center, the Body IQ team will facilitate the conversation of men and body image. The benefits of exercise and nutrition will be discussed at 7:30 p.m. in the Sid Richardson Building basement level commons. At 8 p.m. Wednesday in the North Russell Commons, social media and body image will wrap up the conversations for the week.
Megan Patterson is a member of the Body IQ team and said one thing that is different about this year’s National Eating Disorder Awareness week is the approach the team is taking to bring awareness.
“We are using conversations to provide a safe environment where students feel comfortable to talk about these issues,” Patterson said. “Using a conversational model will help students respond the best.”
Kat Evans, the assistant director for professional development, is also part of the Body IQ team.She said she agrees with Patterson on the approach taken for the cause and said it has the potential to benefit everyone.
“We hope that students will provide feedback on these topics and gain awareness on body image and learn more about the NEDA focus around eating disorders,” Evans said.
Patterson said they want to make the experience more personal by trying to change the way people think and see themselves since they can’t change media.
“We want to break down why we are always trying to look and be the best based on media’s expectations,” Patterson said.
Patterson said the Body IQ team would spend a great deal of money bringing in special guests.
“This is really the first year where we aren’t going over the top,” Patterson said. “However, I think a smaller conversational model will be more effective.”
Wood said she hopes the conversations this week will help with prevention of eating disorders and issues with body image.
The Body IQ team works as a group to help with eating disorders as well as body image as they work to provide a way for students to be OK with their body image; not looking to please the media and society.
“Eating disorders have the highest fatality rate when it comes to mental illnesses,” Wood said. “It is important that we try to prevent it if we catch it soon enough.”