March 3, 2005 at 9:21 PM CST - Updated June 29 at 9:45 PM
Eating Disorder Screenings By: Wendy Ray
Eating disorders used to be something that really only affected young people. N
ow there are women and men in every age group who obsess about their weight, and if you think it's easy to spot someone with a problem think again. Eating to change your mood and exercising excessively are just two signs of an eating disorder. Linda Vogelsang, a counselor at Southeast Missouri State University is screening students as part of eating disorders awareness week to see if they have a problem.
"This is the biggest response we've had since we started doing eating disorder week on campus," Vogelsang says. Vogelsang can't pinpoint why there's so much interest in the eating disorder screenings this year. Even though she's encouraged more students are getting involved, she says it makes her sad because it shows there is a problem. "We had several people who came in and filled out the screening and left it to be scored, but didn't come back and get the results. There's a lot of fear and apprehension, a lot of shame," Vogelsang says.
Southeast Junior Kelly Boes admits she's concerned about her weight. "It's something on your mind every time you go out, but I don't let it control me," Kelly says. Kelly's taking the screening because she's curious if she has the potential for developing an eating disorder, but young women like Kelly aren't the only ones Vogelsang is trying to reach out to. Vogelsang says the number of men with eating disorders is also increasing. "Particularly in the last five years or so, more emphasis is being put on the body building men, wanting the six pack abs."
Vogelsang says men and women with a problem have to break through the denial and realize for themselves that they need help. "They go to great lengths to try to hide it from everyone, including themselves," she says.
The screening done at Southeast is anonymous and confidential. Talk to your doctor if you're worried you might have an eating disorder.