When a student approached Notre Dame psychology professor Alexandra Corning several years ago about writing a senior thesis on eating disorders, Corning said she knew very little about the topic. Now, she conducts research about eating disorders and teaches an undergraduate course titled “Understanding Eating Disorders.” While diagnosable eating disorders are a major concern, Corning said she focuses on the large number of people who struggle with symptoms, but do not have a diagnosable disorder. Statistics, however, are not always accurate because eating disorders and related symptoms are often underreported, according to Valerie Staples, staff clinician and coordinator of eating disorder services at the University Counseling Center. Students wanting to help a friend, Staples said, must address specific concerns about behaviors in a compassionate, nonjudgmental manner. “It’s not about finding the perfect words,” she said. “I don’t have tips on how to make this an easy conversation, but I think there really isn’t a wrong way to tell someone you’re worried about them.” There are three types of eating disorders, Corning said. They fall under the categories of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and not otherwise specified. Not all symptoms fit under these categories, and some fit under all of them. For example, Corning said over-exercising can be a symptom of anorexia, but also a form of purging after binge eating associated with bulimia. “I think that there’s, for some, a misconception that people can’t get better,” she said. “And if I didn’t see people get better, I don’t think I could keep doing this [job.] … It’s a long process of change, but people can overcome an eating disorder and live very long, full lives without this consuming them.” “Even when you’re struggling sub-clinically, you’re struggling,” Corning said. “Our campus, even if you looked around and discovered, yes, full-blown, diagnosable cases are rare … there’s lots of people who are struggling at a sub-clinical level.” While she said the study did not set out to find statistics in that area and was not an entirely random sample, the findings did show that eating disorder symptoms are frequent on campus. While realizing the prevalence of disordered eating and the difficultly of confronting these issues can be discouraging, Staples said she finds hope in stories of recovery. One in three college-aged women has disordered eating habits, although only nearly 10 percent have a full-fledged eating disorder, according the University Counseling Center and resources distributed on Notre Dame’s campus this week as part of Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week, sponsored by the Gender Relations Center. Eating disorders and body image issues are prevalent for the college-aged population due to competition and comparison among students, Staples said. “And [college students today] have grown up in a culture where there’s more bombardment of these images,” she said. Of all the students who came to the University Counseling Center last year, Staples said the Center’s annual report indicates that 10.3 percent reported eating concerns. Yet in addition to working with students who have eating disorders, Staples also meets with concerned friends. “Every year, every semester, I have people calling me or coming in in groups to consult about a friend who they’re worried about,” Staples said. “When I’m consulting with them about how to help a friend, we spend a lot of time talking about not only what they can say to their friend, but also about what to expect.” “Of the people who signed up for our study and were in it … 56.2 percent either had a diagnosable eating disorder or showed symptoms,” Corning said. “It means that if you think no one else is struggling, you’re wrong.” Corning said it is important for students to understand that they are not alone in facing symptoms of eating disorders. A study she did in 2006 found that a great number of female undergraduates at Notre Dame displayed these symptoms. Staples said she finds the amount of student energy and participation in the event this week to be extremely encouraging. One of the most important aspects of Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness Week is based on educating students about how they might help a friend with an eating disorder, she said. “Even if students on campus think that they don’t know somebody with an eating disorder, it’s very likely they do,” she said. “We have a lot of members of our community who are really struggling and who are in a lot of physical and emotional pain.” Eating disorder symptoms are prevalent in both men and women in part because popular culture provides constant reminders of a thin ideal for women and a muscular ideal for men, Corning said.
Press Association He added: “We have had a lot of tough games and we have a lot of what we would consider our big rivals for those (Champions League) positions to play at home. Our form at home is getting better, we are scoring goals and are defensively strong so we sense a real opportunity. “I believe if we continue to play how we have been and retain that focus and mentality we have a terrific chance. It is going to be very tough but it is not something which is impossible.” Liverpool’s unwanted record this season of not beating a side in the Premier League’s top 10 has been used as a stick to beat them with. Critics have argued the Reds do not have sufficient quality or consistency to make a push for the top four. However, the next two months will be pivotal as of their eight league matches only one – Tottenham at home – is against a team they can rightly call rivals for a place in Europe’s elite club competition. Starting with West Brom at home on Monday they face Swansea, Wigan, Spurs, Southampton, Aston Villa, West Ham and Reading before the return to Anfield of former boss Rafael Benitez and his Chelsea side on April 20. It is a perfect opportunity to silence the doubters and put together a run of results which could see them feature in a top-four challenge which seemed unrealistic at the start of the campaign. “Once we reach the 10 games-to-go mark you are getting to the business end of the season and if we keep progressing like we are then that will make me happy,” added the Reds boss. “But it is more longer term than that. We will fight and give everything we can to get the results to keep our performance level improving.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers still believes his side have a terrific chance of qualifying for the Champions League this season. The Reds boss insists closing a nine-point gap on fourth-placed Tottenham is tough but not insurmountable, particularly as they face many of their closest rivals at Anfield. “We have nine points difference but we can do it, there is no question about that,” he said. “It is a lot of points to make up but we will fight and accept the challenge in front of us.”
He added: “Roberto Martinez is a good manager and I am sure they are looking at the next four or five games and thinking, ‘If we can get away from that relegation threat then we can enjoy the day’. “It doesn’t take the shine off the day but retaining Premier League status for them is paramount. I am sure if they have it in the bag by then they will be delighted and they can go and enjoy a Wembley cup final.” As well as reaching the cup final, Latics have also found form in the Premier League, claiming 10 points from their past five games. Wigan have made a habit of staging successful escape acts in recent seasons and they could be in the process of doing so again. Platt said: “I think you see it not just with Wigan. It is very dangerous to try and predict the three teams who will get relegated, in February. “The last six weeks of the season, form seems to go out of the window. Inevitably, if you are down there and have done it year on year as Roberto seems to have done then you have that experience to take teams through.” City are unlikely to risk playmaker David Silva as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. If manager Roberto Mancini wants to make changes after the energy-sapping weekend display at Wembley, he could consider Micah Richards, Maicon or Jack Rodwell, who are all training again after lay-offs. Manchester City host their FA Cup final opponents Wigan tonight but assistant boss David Platt feels it will have little bearing on next month’s showpiece. Platt expects all thoughts of Wembley to be put aside as both clubs concentrate on outstanding issues in the Barclays Premier League. City, although out of contention for the title, still need the points to secure second place while Wigan could climb out of the relegation zone if they can pull off an unexpected victory at the Etihad Stadium. Platt said: “It is not a case of because we are playing them tonight we will know how to play them in the cup final. I don’t think it has any correlation whatsoever. Each team has four or five games before then.” Press Association