Week of events aims to educate people about eating disorders

Nick Walton

National Eating Disorder Awareness week will be celebrated for the first time in Northeast Ohio this week.

The initiative is being recognized through a week of events aimed at educating people about eating disorders. The week-long series of events is sponsored by Eating Disorder Advocates of Ohio along with the University of Akron and other sponsors.

“I can’t even begin to express how thrilled we are with everyone coming together to fulfill this mission this year,” said Michelle Togliatti, co-founder of the advocate group. “Once we actually see the culmination at the end of the week, I think it will be very powerful.”

Togliatti hopes the week will help debunk the stigma behind eating disorders.

“The negative stigma comes from the lack of education, and it’s an illness people don’t want to touch – it’s misunderstood,” Togliatti said, adding that eating disorders are also mental illness along with a physical aspect.

According to the Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association, 40 percent of female college students have eating disorders and affect 7 percent of male college students. The most common among college students are anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating.

While none of the events are sponsored by Kent State, Togliatti said she hopes to expand the initiative to more universities.

“The colleges that you see participating in our events came on board with us right away and we were happy that they did that,” Togliatti said. “Hopefully next year we expand that and I would love to see all of our colleges jump on board with us and carry this message out throughout the week, and I really hope Kent State is one of them next year.”

Contact health reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].