By Nathan Palcowski
In celebration of the 25th annual National Eating Disorders Association’s Awareness week, Western Michigan University along with donations from Forest View Hospital in Grand Rapid, welcomed Darryl Roberts and his documentary “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments” on Feb. 16.
Roberts, a Chicago native, took the challenge of his own personal slim-down and talked with experts about the nation’s obsession with weight and obesity.
The National Eating Disorders Association’s Awareness Week, which begins Sunday, will focus on the goals of prevention, treatment, and minimizing stereotypes of eating disorders.
“People of all shapes and sizes have developed an intense fear of fat that plays havoc with their self-esteem and promotes disordered eating and exercise behavior,” said Dr. Jon Robison, WMU professor and leader of Health at Every Size movement.
In Knauss Hall, audience members had the opportunity to meet Roberts and participate in a lengthy Q&A session after the documentary. The audience, made up of mostly WMU students, had a positive response to the documentary overall.
“I love how the movie pointed out the injustices of ignorant people in today’s society,” said Patrick Lewis, a WMU junior majoring in social work. “It showed how much people overlook obesity.”
Kathy Strickland, a dietician amongst the spectators, had a critical view of the documentary.
“I disagree with what was in the film,” Strickland said. “It was a good film, but I think it needed to shed a different light on obesity.”
Eating disorders in the United States are becoming more prevalent than ever before. In 2011 over eight million people suffered from eating disorders, according to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.
“As people try to achieve the ‘perfect’ body, they often develop unhealthy attitudes towards food,” Roberts said.
For more information on Eating Disorders Awareness Week visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or kalamazooeatingdisorders.org.
Darryl Roberts (top) speaks about his film “America the Beautiful 2: The thin commandments” with the audience on Feb. 16.