Eating Disorder Initiative: stopping the Stigma


Maddy McGovern

FACING THE PROBLEM: Akshi Mistry (12), Madeline From (12), Heather Ramsey (12), Maddy Mcgovern (12), Helen Larkin (12), and Veronica Lasota (11) present to Health Department on new considerations

Emma Gramm, Feature Editor

DGN is now digging into all aspects of mental health including disordered eating. Approximately 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. When senior Maddy McGovern created the DGN eating disorder initiative, she and many others led the way with a new initiative for those in search of support.

The team of six came together on Zoom during the pandemic and all agreed to take on the eating disorder initiative. They invite others into the discussion by sharing it on social media and google classroom. 

Secretary of the initiative junior Veronica Lasota has felt the effects of disordered eating and wants to create a safe space for students.

“I want to help people who are currently struggling because I know I would have wanted an outlet to put my energy towards. Especially going on in the pandemic I think teens felt very isolated even if they did not realize it,” Lasota said.

The group members have been actively posting on social media, making various infographics to spread information on the topic. Online manager senior Akshi Mistry designs the infographics to inform on different types of eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, BED, bulimia nervosa, ect.) while also providing positive messages and giving sources for help. 

“I enjoy doing it because I really want to spread awareness and help people recognize if they may have a problem or need help,” Mystery said.  

The EDI leadership team also made strides in the health department, promising to students that the BMI tests will be optional to the freshman, junior, and senior class . Head P.E. department chair Courtney White made this decision after a significant meeting with the group. While the sophomores are still required to report this to the state, the students are now able to do blind weigh-ins.

“Really looking at what BMI is being used for really isn’t that valuable within our curriculum. We think it is important for (students) to understand and know what it does because physicians are evaluating their BMI, but for us we are not doing anything with it,” White said. “We don’t want to cause harm, in the end our goal is for students to understand their bodies.”

An issue that the group tends to battle with is the constant reminder of diet culture and the emphasis society has on losing weight.  Vice President senior Madeline From thinks that promoting this within the school can negatively impact the students. 

“I feel like a big problem is that in life in general it can seem like anyone at any time is trying some sort of way to lose weight because all you hear about is diets and workout routines. Society is so embedded into diet culture,” From said. 

The initiative is not looking towards affirming themselves as a registered club, since they do not want to have this as an ongoing issue. Their purpose is to allow students to feel comfort in their struggles and destigmatize the issue. 

“It is a preventative measure, obviously we can’t single-handedly prevent disordered eating but we can minimize it in the school,” Lasota said.