Poor self-image and an unhealthy view of food and weight can have devastating effects on a person. Eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder affect millions of people, so to help raise awareness, February 21-28 is designated as National Eating Disorders Week. Many organizations across the country, like colleges and universities, are holding events to help bring these disorders to light and offer support.
For example, West Chester University is sponsoring a “scale bashing” session meant to empower young women. Missouri University is holding a variety of educational events, a viewing of the film Fattitude, along with a question and answer session with health-care professionals. Students can also participate in Magic Mirror on the Wall, where people are encouraged to stop by and write body-positive phrases on mirrors.
Women’s intimate apparel brand, Aerie (by American Eagle), is running a marketing campaign to promote positive body image in their stores and online through March 3. Aerie is a supporter of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), a New York City-based nonprofit that supports people affected by eating disorders.
According to NEDA’s website, the goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to “improve public understanding of the causes, dangers and treatments for eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, so early intervention can mean saving lives.” NEDA’s website features an online screening test called “3 Minutes Can Save a Life: Get Screened. Get Help. Get Healthy,” to determine if professional help is needed (http://nedawareness.org/get-screened).
Aerie’s campaign, called “Strong, Beautiful, ME,” features a printed, limited-edition T-shirt that’s available online only, with 100% of sales being donated to NEDA (www.Aerie.com/AerieSupports). In addition, all Aerie stores will have a gift-with-donation bracelet. “We are thrilled to have ongoing support from Aerie, and we thank the company for its socially responsible campaigns,” said Claire Mysko, interim CEO of NEDA in a press release. “Walking into stores that are promoting a healthy body image is a huge step for helping all women develop high self-esteem. Body-negativity is so prevalent in our society, but Aerie is taking a stand and making an impressive impact.”
In addition to the eating disorder awareness week campaign, Aerie will also be working with NEDA as the presenting sponsor of the nonprofit’s ongoing national walks awareness program called, “NEDA Walk. Save a Life,” which raises funds for advocacy and educational programs and provides support for local communities.“We are excited to continue our partnership with NEDA for the second year in a row,” said Jennifer Foyle, Aerie global brand president in the press release. “Our work with NEDA continues to allow us to provide information and resources to our customers helping to reduce the stigma often associated with eating disorders, as well as reinforce our commitment to #AerieREAL and authentic body positivity.”