USF to participate in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

USF Wellness Education and Promotion wants to ban the “F” word – fat.

“Ban the ‘F’ word” is the slogan behind Wellness Education and Promotion’s events for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW), which begins today.

The week is dedicated to educating students, faculty and staff on nutrition, eating disorders and how to keep a positive body image, said Holly Rayko, assistant director of Student Health Services Health Promotion.

“It’s an issue, whether you’re on a college campus or off a college campus, that’s relevant to the population,” she said.

Kim Chism, a registered dietitian with Wellness USF, said there are many events going on during awareness week.

“Some of them are events that are specifically geared for this week, like Meet Barbie,” she said. “Some of the group fitness classes are going on throughout the semester.”

The “Meet Barbie” event features a life-size poster of the doll, which promotes a realistic body image by illustrating how unrealistic the Barbie is. Chism will talk about “intuitive eating” to encourage students to eat when their body is naturally hungry, rather than eating when bored.

Wellness USF also has a Facebook event for NEDAW, “Get rid of ‘fat’ talk! Love your body!” as well as classes, orientations and screenings to promote positive body image and healthy eating on campus. There will also be fitness classes like Tai Chi and pilates.

For a list of events and times, visit their facebook page at

Chism said student, faculty and staff body images are important and organizations on campus wanted to help promote the health ideals behind NEDAW.

“It’s an ongoing concern on campus,” Chism said. “A couple different departments got together and decided to do outreach, increase awareness of disorders and are letting students know what they can access for assistance and focusing on prevention.”

NEDAW is sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association and USF’s Campus Recreation, Counseling Center, Psychological Services Center, Student Health Services and Wellness USF.

Representatives from those sponsors sit on a planning committee that oversees the NEDAW events.

“The idea behind NEDAW is not a new idea,” Rayko said, “but a collaboration we have with everyone on the planning committee.”

Chism said students should take advantage of health support from USF Student Health Services, which offers nutrition counseling and medical appointments, the Psychological Services Center, which offers counseling, and the Hope House, which provides support for those suffering from eating disorders.

Rayko said students must carry the knowledge from this week and apply it to their everyday lives.

“Students can take the information they learned after they’re done at USF,” she said. “If they do have a more severe issue, hopefully they can get that matter taken care of so that they can graduate and succeed academically and personally once they leave campus.”