Knox is now offering a confidential body positivity support space titled Mind and Wellness Body Group. The group will deal with with topics such as body image, unhealthy eating habits and media portrayal of the “ideal” body.
According to the NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association), “Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors.” This is a common problem among adolescents, and on college campuses this creates clusters of students who are dealing with body-related issues.
To help alleviate problems with body image or unhealthy dieting, Kim Scardina, a therapist from the OSF Eating Disorder Program in Peoria, will come to Knox biweekly to offer the group. Scardina has been working as the group therapist at OSF for two and a half years.
“College is definitely a time of change and stress É if a person has struggled or begins to struggle with body image they may start to focus on changing their body in an unhealthy way with unrealistic expectations,” Scardina explained. “Also the stress of new responsibilities, coursework and grades can lead to students neglecting their health or using diet and exercise as a distraction from other worries.”
Senior Erica Witzig believes the implementation of a body positivity group to be critical.
“I know many people here, including myself, who struggle with disordered eating and tend to have unhealthy relationships with food and ourselves,” Witzig said. Additionally, she believes that trauma, racism and sexism can contribute to body image issues. “There are negative forces in society that skew our perspectives about our bodily agency and rights.”
In regard to goals for the support group, Scardina said she would like, “to give students a place to express their thoughts and feelings about a variety of topics that affect their mind and body.” By doing this, Scardina hopes this will help students understand problematic behaviors and start using positive coping skills.
The group is not just intended for students living with eating disorders. It’s an open invitation for anyone who might be struggling with body-related topics to come and receive support.
The Mind and Wellness Body Group starts Thursday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. To find the location of the group email Janell Mcgruder at firstname.lastname@example.org.