Healthy Eating and Body Image
College is an exciting period of transition, where students embrace newfound independence in their eating and exercise habits. It's a time of new experiences and personal growth. With all the positive changes, however, students often experience concerns about food and body image.
At University Health Services, we are dedicated to supporting students throughout their journey, ensuring their well-being is prioritized. We understand that thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms related to food and body image can be challenging, and UHS is here to help you navigate through them.
If you are experiencing frequent intrusive thoughts about food and/or exercise or if you are concerned about a friend, please reach out for help and support.
- Counseling Services: We offer consultations to students and concerned friends and family and provide recommendations and referrals to outside treatment teams including medical providers, dietitians, therapists, and eating disorder programs for those needing higher-level care. Call 541-346-3227.
- University Health Services: While we don’t treat eating disorders, we offer clinical consultations and help coordinate referrals to outside treatment teams including medical providers, dieticians, therapists, and eating disorder programs). Call 541-346-2770.
- Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741 to connect to a crisis counselor, 24/7
- National Eating Disorder Association
Accessing Services at UHS
At UHS, we attend to students with eating disorders with care and concern. The good news is that people recover from eating disorders and go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Consultations with a medical provider or therapist are available at UHS for students with concerns related to eating, body image, or exercise. This appointment will focus on recommendations for care and treatment. You may be referred to a case manager who will connect you to resources at the appropriate level of care in the community. While we do not treat eating disorders in the Medical Clinic at University Health Services, we may be able to assist you in finding an appropriate treatment team.
If you are seeking help and would like to set up a consultation appointment, call 541-346-2770.
University Health Services can offer monitoring services to students who have an established diagnosis of an eating disorder and who currently are in the care of an existing treatment team. We can work collaboratively with your treatment team to monitor weight, vital signs, and provide support while you are here on campus.
Typically, you will first meet with a UHS medical provider to establish care and will be asked to sign a release of information for us to share information with your treatment team. You will also be asked to sign an agreement that identifies a plan of what will happen should your eating disorder worsen.
If you already have an eating disorder diagnosis and a treatment team and would like to schedule an appointment for monitoring while you are attending the UO, call 541-346-2770.
University Health Services can provide medical evaluation for students needing medical clearance for admission to an eating disorder treatment program. This typically includes a physical examination, blood work, EKG and urine screening.
If you would like to schedule an appointment for medical clearance for ED treatment admission, call 541-346-2770.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an eating disorder? Doesn’t everyone diet and worry about their body?
Problems with eating and body image fall within a broad spectrum of feelings, attitudes, and behaviors:
- Feeling positive about your body and eating behaviors
- Feeling dissatisfied and preoccupied with your body and eating behaviors
- Feeling distressed about your body and eating behaviors
- Developing an eating disorder
Eating disorders encompass a wide range of symptoms and experiences. The most common eating disorder diagnoses are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, though there are many types of disordered eating that do not fit into these descriptions.
- Anorexia nervosa involves fear of gaining weight, intense preoccupation with body size, and a severe restriction of food intake, often to the point of significant weight loss. However, Anorexia Nervosa affects people of all body sizes.
- Bulimia nervosa involves a pattern during which a person eats large amounts of food and feels unable to control their eating. The person may then engage in compensatory behaviors (such as self-induced vomiting) to “purge” foods eaten.
- Binge eating disorder involves a pattern during which a person eats large amounts of food and feels unable to control their eating, followed by intense feelings of guilt, shame, and emotional distress. The person typically does not engage in compensatory behaviors (such as self-induced vomiting) to purge foods eaten.
Individuals with eating disorders or disordered eating often also experience anxiety and depression with symptoms including sadness, low energy, or withdrawal from activities, school participation and relationships.
Visit the National Eating Disorders Association to learn more about warning signs for disordered eating.
What if I think I have an eating disorder and would like an assessment or more information?
You can schedule a consultation with either a medical provider or a therapist to discuss your concerns with someone who has experience working with disordered eating and is knowledgeable about treatment resources in the community. This will be a consultation and often a referral outside of campus, as the UHS does not have the expertise to treat eating disorders.
There are several websites that have good information and even some validated questionnaires that you can check into. The National Eating Disorders Association has a free screening tool for individuals 13 years and older.
The National Eating Disorders Association offers a free screening tool.
What does eating disorder treatment look like?
Treatment recommendations vary depending on personal circumstances:
- Students who have mild or moderate patterns of disordered eating and already are in the care of treatment teams with no physical symptoms, may be recommended to an outpatient team of a therapist, registered dietitian, and medical provider.
- Students with active eating disorder behaviors who are not in the care of at treatment team may be referred to a higher level of care that may include intensive outpatient programs or residential care programs.
What if I am new to the UO, have a history of an eating disorder, but I am stable or in recovery?
Life changes can be very stressful, especially the transition to college. Some students may notice the urge to return to old behaviors and patterns which can result in recurrence of eating disorder symptoms.
It is important to anticipate that this might happen and have a plan in place if this does occur. We recommend the following support system: regular therapy, nutritional support from a registered dietitian, and as-needed medical support.
What if I had eating disorder treatment in the past and have been stable, but am in relapse with active eating disorder behaviors?
While UHS does not treat eating disorders, you can schedule for a consultation appointment with either a medical provider, therapist, or case manager to discuss local eating disorder treatment resources. Eugene is a small community, and we recommend that you stay with your treatment team from home, if possible (many programs offer virtual/remote support). For information on local resources, please refer to the list below.
Eugene Area Eating Disorder Treatment Resources
Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Eugene
This residential eating disorder treatment program will also do brief free assessment and make level-of-care recommendations. Monte Nido offers an intensive outpatient program, partial hospitalization program, and weekly process groups for alumni clients.
Madrone Mental Health
Madrone Mental Health offers an intensive outpatient program and partial hospitalization program.
The DeNovo Center
DeNovo Center offers an intensive outpatient program (including individual and group therapy) for those struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, and eating concerns. Call the center or visit their website to schedule a free consultation to initiate services.
Regional Treatment Resources
- Providence ED program (Portland)
- Center for Discovery ED program (Portland)
- Portland DBT Institute: ED-IOP
Virtual Treatment Resources
University of Oregon Eating Disorder Awareness and Support
Eating Disorder Awareness and Support (EDAS) is a student-run club at UO that is devoted to creating and strengthening a network of resources for students struggling with disordered eating, body image issues, or any habits or behaviors that fall out of the definition of normal eating. EDAS offers preventive eating disorder education to the UO community and is dedicated to creating a campus supporting food and body relationships, in addition to peer-led support groups hosted by the Collegiate Recovery Center. They are an inclusive space that embraces any opportunity to begin conversations about how students can build positive relationships with food and body regardless of if they’ve experienced disordered eating or not. Visit their website to learn more about EDAS’ mission and the work they do, and to discover more educational resources and information about support groups. To get involved, email email@example.com.