The health issues behind Love Your Body Week

Illustration by Laura Baker

Illustration by Laura Baker

Students living a college lifestyle filled with stress, pressure and even home-sickness are at a high risk of developing unhealthy habits. These habits can negatively affect both physical and mental health.

Mason’s LOVE Your Body Task Force is helping to raise awareness about the health issues college students can develop. Composed of Mason faculty, staff and students from CAPS, WAVES, Mason Dining and Mason Recreation, the taskforce is geared to bringing about body positivity and helping students who are struggling with body image issues and eating disorders find the help and support they need.

According to the WAVES website, fully developed eating disorders typically begin between the ages of 18 and 21. Since college is a period in which disordered eating is likely to come about or resurface for students, it is important to raise awareness about the resources that are available on campus.

“Access to education, screenings, and mental health resources are important for getting individuals to seek proper treatment and support, or be able to detect and refer other students who may be struggling,” states the WAVES website.

One of the Task Force’s biggest initiatives is Love Your Body Week, an annual week dedicated to positive body image awareness. Holding kiosks throughout the week titled, “Because You’re More Than Just A Number,” “Heart Your Parts Photo Booth,” and “Love Your Jeans/Genes,” the weeklong event is geared to help students focus on the positives of their body, rather than the negatives.

“I think it’s very easy to focus on what is stressing me out or what I want to change, but I love this week because it’s made me take a minute and focus on what I love about myself and my body,” said Caitlin Patterson, WAVES intern.

The week will consist of various interactive body positive activities for students to take part in throughout the day.

“We will have fun activities to raise awareness for positive body image, such as a compliment weight scale, a ’Heart Your Parts’ photo booth, and on Thursday, Feb. 26 we will be collecting new or gently used jeans for Miriam’s Kitchen,” Patterson said. “Of course, if you can’t make it to the Thursday kiosk we will collect them in the WAVES office 9 to 5 that week as well. We also will have hot chocolate and snack bars for students to enjoy on their way to class, along with water bottles and pens to give away!”

Students hearing about this week full of body positivity are both excited and proud about the message that the LOVE Task Force is sending out.

“The one person you are stuck with for the rest of your life is yourself so you might as well make it a good life,” said sophomore environmental and sustainability major Laurel Mahoney. “You should love yourself just the way you are.”

“Life is too short to spend with someone that you hate,” said sophomore Pre-Nursing major Christy Pennington. “You should take this time in college to get to know and love yourself.”