Eating disorders subject of Tues. event

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2001

Features Editor

Feb. 10, 2001 10 PM

There’s nothing funny about eating disorders. They are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health.

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Terry Watkins, health education outreach coordinator for Edge Regional Medical Center, said in the United States, "conservative" estimates indicate that between five and 10 million girls and women and one million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders.

Over a person’s lifetime, at least 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of their eating disorders.

Troubling statistics?

Of course, and there’s nothing funny about them. However, sometimes the only way to reach those struggling with the serious disorders is to "lighten up."

And, a lighter approach to a very serious problem will be taken Tuesday night when a professional acting group, "Two Thin" presents a comedy/lecture show at 7:30 at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the Troy State University campus.

The show will be presented from the viewpoint of a recovering anorexic and bulimic.

"It speaks to a universal audience about self-acceptance and loving yourself exactly the way you are, no matter how much you weigh," Watkins said. "Stand-up comics, Michelle Garb and Dani Klein, will speak candidly about their obsessive behavior with food. ‘Two Thin’ is informative and educational, but it is also about having the courage to be honest with others, and most importantly, with yourself."

By presenting eating disorders in a comedy/lecture format, those who attend are more relaxed and comfortable with a subject they or a friend might be struggling with, Watkins said. And, more people are likely to attend an eating disorders ‘clinic’ of this kind.

Watkins said the "stage" show could make a difference in the lives of those in attendance.

Comedy can be used to get across very serious messages and "Two Thin" will use it to reach those who might have resisted in a more formal, rigid setting.

"Whatever it takes to get across the message of the consequences of eating disorders, we want to do," Watkins said. "Eating disorders are problems that can not be ignored because they can be life-threatening."

And, sadly or even tragically, eating disorders are often ignored. "Two Thin" seeks to bring them to "light."

The public is invited to attend "Two Thin" and it’s free.

"Two Thin" is the final event of the Eating Disorders Conference which will begin at 9 a.m. in the Adams Center Ballroom.

Many of the concerns about eating disorders will be addressed by physicians, health care providers, athletic trainers and students with eating disorders.

The conference will feature three events which are sponsored by ERMC, Troy State University’s Activities Council, Pike Internal Medicine and Southeast Alabama Rural Health Association.

The first event will be a bone density screening in the Adams Center Ballrooms and anyone who is concerned about losing bone mass is encouraged to participate. There is no charge for the bone density screening and Watkins said adults in the community are encouraged to take advantage of this free service between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At 2 p.m., a panel discussion will be presented and it will be followed by a question and answer session for those who have specific questions about eating disorders.

The panel will include Dr. Faith Weathington, professional counselor; Dr. Alan Young, internist; Dr. Edith Smith, health and fitness instructor; Fran Scheel, certified counselor, and Amy Enfinger, TSU senior.