On October 10th, a wonderful and much loved GR Senior, Rachel Franksain, was admitted into the University of Iowa Children's Hospital to fight her battle against anorexia. GR has always had a great reputation of supporting one another, and the students have been doing just that for Rachel!
With that, some misconceptions about eating disorders have caused some confusion for students. Therefore, last Tuesday, October 22nd, the high school nurse, Julie Grunklee, and the guidance counselor, Ariel Patton, organized an Eating Disorder Awareness assembly. We wanted you to experience what we learned, so we've included in this article some facts and myths about eating disorders. We hope you will come across some information that'll make you think differently about this health concern.
MYTH: Eating disorders are not an illness.
FACT: Eating disorders are complex medical/psychiatric illnesses that affect many parts of the body.
MYTH: Eating disorders are uncommon.
FACT: Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among adolescent females.
MYTH: Eating disorders are a choice.
FACT: People do NOT choose to have an eating disorder. It is a complex illness that develops over time.
MYTH: Eating disorders only occur in females.
FACT: 25% of diagnosed children are male. This disease looks different in males versus females.
MYTH: Eating disorders are an attempt to seek attention.
FACT: The causes are complex and involve biological, social, and environmental factors.
F.A.Q.: Can't people who have anorexia see that they are too thin?
ANSWER: Most cannot. Eating disorders cause a disturbance in body image. The high schoolers were taught how to minimize our own hurtful thoughts of body image that affect us and others, and how to be supportive of those struggling with eating disorders. We need to think about what we are saying and try to eliminate "fat talk," such as: "Do I look fat in this? I just ate a whole candy bar! I'm so fat! I need to lose 10 pounds!" The best service you can offer someone struggling with an eating disorder is to tell an adult about your concern and offer supportive, positive words to the friend. The assembly offered a lot of information about eating disorders, and helped every student better understand this serious illness.
Looking forward, this has definitely motivated the GR High School to do the best we can to support Rachel through this tough time. We would like to offer you the opportunity to send her some uplifting words of encouragement while she's in the hospital. Keep praying for her and remember that eating disorders are more than just a number!