The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Anorexia influenced by media, culture, speaker says

By Rosa Jaimes/reporter

Under the category of mental disorders, anorexia has the highest mortality rate, the director of Eating Disorder Hope said last week.

Jacquelyn Ekern, a recovering patient herself, discussed eating disorders and methods of treatment during a learning lunch Feb. 26 on NW Campus.

“I used to have bulimia nervosa,” she said.

Ekern has battled with bulimia nervosa since the age of 28. Now 43, she said she is still recovering from this illness. Her eating disorder has motivated her to go into counseling and speak out against the several types of eating disorders that exist.

Her presentation concentrated on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

“The media in our culture is a huge impact,” she said.

Ekern said its influence on Western culture is higher than in any other country because Americans are influenced by what they see on TV and magazines.

She said women and men see models on magazine covers and assume they should look that way. But the average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs 140 pounds.

Other influences that target these eating disorders include low self-esteem, depression, environment and abuse, Ekern said.

“We might be having a different discussion 10 years down the road,” she said.

Current studies examine the correlation between hereditary genes and eating disorders, so researchers could find new evidence or trends.

Ekern briefly discussed intervention programs such as cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy and dialectic behavior therapy.

“My favorite is cognitive behavior therapy,” she said.

Cognitive therapy helps individuals overcome difficulties by changing their behavior, thinking and emotional response. Ekern said she personally experienced more effective results through such sessions when she was in treatment.

Ekern referred the 35 attendees to her Web site for resources for intervention of loved ones at early stages.

The program was presented in recognition of February as National Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

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