57°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

“Let’s Talk About It: Eating Disorders”

UMass Boston’s University Health Services, “Let’s Talk About It,” led a discussion the week of Feb. 27 on eating disorders. The talk was led during Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and information about various eating disorders were distributed to students in attendance.
The discussion was held in the Campus Center on the first floor in room 1110. Students sat around a conference table and introduced themselves with their name, major and preferred pronouns. Those in attendance began the discussion with the questions, “What do we know about eating disorders?” and, “What are we aware of about eating disorders?”
Examples were given, such as anorexia and bulimia, and informational papers were distributed to the group. The flyers that were handed out explained what eating disorders are, what the red flags are, who is affected, and how to seek out help. Information about eating disorders was discussed. Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders; this is when a person believes that they are overweight, even if they are extremely underweight, and restricts themselves from eating. Bulimia, another commonly known eating disorder, is when a person eats until they are painfully full and sometimes includes purging, or induced vomiting.
Other eating disorders that are less common were also discussed, such as pica, which is eating things that are not considered food, and rumination, when a person chews food but does not consume it. With background information about various eating disorders established, attendees were then asked, “How does society and media glamorize eating disorders?,” which was the question that created the theme of the discussion.
Students discussed how the media displays food in commercials as looking more appealing or healthier than it would be in reality, or how certain phrases are used in media to convey how healthy a certain food or food supplement is. Phrases that were mentioned included, “Low Calories,” “No Trans Fat,” or “No Calories.”
Attendees also stressed the use of celebrities in promoting dietary supplements and various weight loss tools, even though the celebrities do not use them. The discussion was very informal, allowing for those in attendance to share personal experiences of themselves and friends, while still adding to the general theme of the discussion. Students discussed the difficulty that athletes have while dealing with diets and eating disorders, and how occasionally exercise and eating disorders can go hand in hand. As the discussion progressed, diets was a recurring topic. Students shared stories of how diets can become increasingly popular in the media, and how diets do not work for every person.
The discussion came to a close with the last question, “How do we help friends?” The final informational pamphlet was handed to students. “Eating Disorder Recovery: Top 10 Tips” detailed ways that someone could help themselves or a friend with an eating disorder. The pamphlet also provided information about where someone could go in order to get help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, Eating Disorder Hope and the National Eating Disorder Association have websites to help those with eating disorders.
“Let’s Talk About It” continues through the month of March and April. The following dates are the next topics for the “Let’s Talk About It” series.
3/5: Body Image
3/26: Masculinity
4/2: STDs
4/9: Bystander Intervention
4/16: Relationships in Media
4/23: Sex Trafficking
4/30: Misconceptions of Mental Health

About the Contributor
Genevieve Santilli, News Writer