Grizzlies go the distance for eating disorder awareness

By Andrew Wernette

The Eating Disorder Awareness Walk was held Tuesday, March 4 in the Recreation Center. Students, staff and faculty came to walk and run around the indoor track for the cause.

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW). The walk is just one of the events throughout the week to shed light on the pervasiveness of eating disorders among individuals.

This marks the third year of its observance at OU.

“Definitely more than we expected,” said Gina D’Andrea, a senior Rec Center intern who was working the sign-up table.

Anyone could walk at their own pace for as many laps as they wanted.

Julie Proctor, the health and wellness coordinator at Graham Health Center and a professor of Exercise Science, is the coordinator of all the NEDAW activities happening this week. She was excited for this year’s turnout.

“Most people diss those with an eating disorder,” Proctor said. 

She explained that the psychology behind eating disorders remain widely misunderstood. 

As she said, it is easy for friends and family to say, “Why don’t you just eat?”

“It’s not as simple as that,” Proctor said.

Student athletes are especially at risk of developing eating disorders. 

“We’re seeing a lot of student athletes,” said Jill McCollum, an OU student, Rec Center intern and one of the staffers at the sign-in table. 

Proctor described the pressures athletes face in staying physically fit. Sometimes, she said, this can lead to extreme behavior. Athletic director Robert Stewart is urging all student athletes to attend at least one of the NEDAW events this week due to this tendency, according to Proctor.

“When you have been touched by an eating disorder,” she said, “it becomes something that is very important to you.” She said that people come simply to learn how to talk to others about their eating disorders and  to learn more about them. This is the goal of the programs.

For more information on other NEDAW events happening on campus, visit the Graham Health Center’s website at