Campus, News

Health Services to continue Body Positive series

Research shows that 58% of college-aged girls in the U.S. feel pressured to be a certain weight.

To lessen the percentage and improve overall body perception, Student Health Services launched Body Positive at The Beach, an eight session online program in 2016.

Beginning the week of March 6, participants will get the chance to learn about the value of self-care, intuitive living and health.

Aside from aiming to help students overcome body conflicts, the free program may prevent further complications like disordered eating and harmful behaviors, especially for the LGBTQ+ community and students of color.

According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “BIPOC with eating disorders are half as likely to be diagnosed or to receive treatment.”

At a campus in which over 27,000 students are non-white, Body Positive at The Beach upholds an important responsibility.

Though the program is open to all, Body Positive at The Beach is currently recruiting a new group of diverse facilitators for those wanting help from someone in their own identity group.

“The program is designed to support all people, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, body type, ability and age,” Allison Borwell, Body Positive at The Beach coordinator and office of wellness and health educator, said.

“Any student who experiences any conflicts with their body is welcome,” Borwell said. “Previous participants have come in with insecurities across the board from experiencing sizeism and/or colorism, to feeling uncomfortable with their body hair, their voice, or just feeling like they aren’t ‘good enough’ as they are.”

Additionally, Counseling and Psychological Services members offer support groups to LGBTQ+ students to share information about the health center’s services.

The hands-on program, led by trained facilitators, splits participants into several groups to learn lesson plans and host environments for open discussion about self-care.

“When we talk about caring for ourselves, we mean meaningful self care – like going to the doctor for preventive exams, eating nutritious food, moving our bodies more often, engaging in healthy relationships and other health behaviors that benefit our lives,” said Heidi Girling, health educator and coordinator at the office of wellness and health promotion.

In response to completing the eight week program, evaluation results showed that participants experienced a statistically significant increase in self-compassion, self-kindness, mindfulness and common humanity.

Data collected from the program also suggests that participants have shown a decrease in isolation, over identification, self-judgment and marked concern with their bodies.

Aside from the ongoing series, students have access to several other free workshops that focus on nutrition, sexual health, meditation and stress management.

Students that are interested in Body Positive at the Beach can visit their online page for more information. Faculty looking to be involved should contact Borwell for training opportunities.

“The science behind self compassion strongly demonstrates that increased self compassion will invigorate us to take better care of selves, physically, mentally and emotionally,” Girling said.

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