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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 17, 2012

Bearcat Peer Education sponsors Body Image Awareness Week

In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 20-24, Bearcat Peer Education, is sponsoring a variety of events and opportunities for peer interaction at Northwest Missouri State University in an effort dubbed Body Image Awareness Week.

An estimated 5 percent of Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Bearcat Peer Education, a student-led organization that works to educate the Northwest community on a variety of health and wellness topics, encourages people to be aware of behaviors and actions that could increase the risk of a loved one developing an eating disorder and to simply embrace the beauty of themselves and everyone around them. 

Activities throughout the week are designed to raise awareness among Northwest students and employees of eating disorders and body image as well as the importance of exercise.

In addition, Northwest residence halls will host the Great Jeans Giveaway. The promotion highlights the facts that body size and shape are influenced by biological factors and calls attention to some new discoveries of the role genetics play in the development of eating disorders. The goal of the Great Jeans Giveaway is to encourage people to be comfortable in their genes by wearing comfortable jeans. Students will have an opportunity to donate their jeans and other clothing by placing items in boxes located in the lobby areas of each residence hall. Donations will collected by 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. 

Other events include:

“Reflections” (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Information Center, located on the second floor)

Counselors from Northwest’s Personal Development and Counseling Center will conduct eating disorder assessments. Bearcat Peer Educators also will distribute information regarding body image.


“Perceptions” (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Student Union lower level)

The day’s events are designed to inspire members of the Northwest community to assess how they view others and define their perception of beauty. Bearcat Peer Educators are partnering with the Psychology/Sociology Society to provide quotes from some of society’s icons and solicit quotes from members of Bearcat nation as well as place quotes in Northwest residence halls.  

Also, at 3:45 p.m. in Colden Hall 3350, Health Educator Jen Kennymore and Campus Dining Dietician Shelby Wilmes will give a presentation about eating disorders, signs and symptoms, treatment options and local resources where people can seek more information. Using real world statistics and national campaigns like Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” Kennymore and Wilmes will address positive body image messaging.


“Operation Beautiful” (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Student Union lower level)

As a part of a national campaign to promote healthy body image, students are encouraged to post reminders to themselves and their peers that they are all beautiful no matter their body type. Students are invited to post anonymous notes in public places for other people to find.


“Shake It Up!” (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Student Union lower level)

Participants are invited to “bust a move to a healthier you.” Physical wellness comes in all body types, but it also requires consistent physical activity to maintain. Information about daily exercise routines and proper nutrition will be provided along with a chance to “shake your groove thing” with hula hoops and jump ropes.


Don't Diet, Live!  Enjoy Your Day, Love Yourself, Eat How You Like” (Friday, Feb. 24, in the Student Union, sponsored by Campus Dining)

Bearcat Peer Educators will promote four ideals in an effort to help people realize it is OK to indulge every once and awhile and take a day to treat themselves.

  • Doubt the idea of one "right" body shape.
  • Raise awareness to weight discrimination, size bias and fatphobia.
  • Declare a free day from diets and obsessions to body weight.
  • Remember: Beauty is the way you feel, not what you weigh.

For more information or to get involved, contact Chris Triplett at or Jennifer Kennymore at 

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468