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Miss America will speak during "Love Your Body Day," an annual UA event that takes place on Mon., Feb. 22 during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 21-27.
In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life or death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder.
To raise awareness about the potentially life-threatening seriousness of eating disorders and the issues that contribute to them, the National Eating Disorders Association has designated Feb. 21-27 awareness week for the disorder. The week is also meant to spread this message of hope: Help is available, recovery is possible, and those affected are not alone in their struggle.
Year-round, the University of Arizona's Campus Health Service provides medical, nutritional and counseling services for students battling eating disorders and is sponsoring Kirsten Haglund, the 2008 Miss America, as the keynote speaker for the UA's Love Your Body Day.
Haglund will share her personal experience with an eating disorder and her recovery during the event, which takes place on Mon., Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. at the UA Student Recreation Center.
Haglund, who suffered from anorexia during her adolescence, has used her national prominence and 2008 crown as an opportunity to create an open dialogue on eating disorders in the entertainment media, in the fashion and beauty industries, and with the many young women who look to Miss America as a role model.
Haglund said her mission as Miss America is to provide hope and support to those seeking treatment and freedom from eating disorders.
On Mon., Feb. 22, there will also be Campus Health representatives on the UA Mall and at the UA BookStore in the Student Union Memorial Center conducting healthy body image screenings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
UA services for those with eating disorders involve a team approach, said Gale Welter, a registered dietitian and UA nutrition counselor with special training in working with eating disorders.
"It all depends on the individual and their specific needs," she said.
Campus Health typically sees 30 students or more a week for eating disorders and offers a multidisciplinary approach that involves specialists in counseling and psychological services, nutrition and medicine. Welter said the specialists work together to meet the students' needs based on where they are in the recovery stage. They also offer weekly group meetings and refer students to off campus providers and treatment centers if needed.
The Love Your Body talk is free and open to the public and will be followed by an opportunity for questions and answers.
Love Your Body Day is sponsored by the UA Campus Health Service, the UA Department of Campus Recreation, Remuda Ranch, Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, Sierra Tucson Treatment Center and the Xerox Corporation.