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Body Image Week Raises Awareness at UW

February 17, 2011

How society views body image will be explored through a series of discussions and interactive demonstrations during "Body Image Awareness" week Feb. 21-26, at the University of Wyoming.

Sponsored by the University Counseling Center (UCC) and Lifesavers Coalition, the week's activities are free and open to the public.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), nearly 25 percent of all college-aged women, and an increasing number of men, engage in binging and purging as a weight-management technique to meet unnatural and unhealthy body image expectations. Eating disorders can cause permanent physical harm such as anemia, the inability to have children and damage to the heart resulting in stroke.

"There tend to be serious psychological consequences to engaging in disordered eating including, but not limited to, isolation, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia and a perfectionist personality," says Brenda Tracy, UCC mental health counselor. "There has been increased concern about obesity as a source of both physical and psychological body image issues as well."

Among the highlights for Body Image Awareness week:

-- Monday, Feb. 21: Carmen Cool, Boulder Youth Body Alliance director and psychotherapist. Her areas of expertise include working with binge eating, emotional eating and weight-related concerns. Wyoming Union east ballroom, 7 p.m.

-- Tuesday, Feb. 22: Betty Holmes, Wyoming Department of Health who was WIN the Rockies regional project coordinator. She is the co-author of the book, "Let Their Voices Be Heard: Quotations from Life Stories Related to Physical Activity, Food and Eating, and Body Image." WIN the Rockies helped to educate community members to value health, respect body size differences and enjoy the benefits of self-acceptance, physically active living and healthful and pleasurable eating. Wyoming Union west and center ballrooms, 7 p.m.

-- Wednesday, Feb. 23: "Embrace Yourself: Mind, Body & Spirit," Body Image Awareness resource fair, interactive demonstrations and information tables, Wyoming Union breezeway and Skylight Lounge, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

-- Thursday, Feb. 24: Panelists will discuss eating disorders, media influences on body image for both women and men and body images for those with disabilities. Among the panelists are Keith Evashevski, UCC associate director; Jane Warren, UW Counselor Education Program associate professor; and Michelle Jarman, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities assistant professor. Wyoming Union Skylight Lounge, noon-2 p.m.

-- Friday, Feb. 25: Sherrie Rubio-Wallace, UW School of Nursing assistant lecturer and Laramie Reproductive Health nurse practitioner, will give a presentation about sexual health and reproduction, including all new birth control methods. Wyoming Union Senate Chambers, noon luncheon.

-- Saturday, Feb. 26: "Playful Solutions to Serious Problems: Climbing as a Metaphor for Life." UCC promotes a workshop that uses rock climbing as a tool to have deeper insight into one's own self.  Facilitators are Guilherme Zavaschi, UCC mental health counselor graduate student and Brenda Tracy. Half Acre climbing wall, pre-registration is required.

For a complete list of the week's activities, visit the University Counseling Center website at or call Tracy at (307) 766-2187.

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