Local group fighting eating disorders in schools


The Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee-Northeast is sponsoring a YES! Team program (Youth Education and Support) in local schools now through March 3 to coincide with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The YES! program was developed by the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee (EDCT) to help educate youth about eating disorders, develop a healthy body image, build friendships and support each other. The program is made possible due to a grant from HEAL Appalachia (www.HEALappalachia.com).

The activities and information in the YES! Team’s school-based, psychoeducational curriculum help develop and encourage critical thinking skills in teenagers and young adults. These skills include decoding media messages, challenging society’s glorification of thinness and improving peer communication skills.

Another important purpose of this curriculum is to discourage weight- and shape-related teasing and sexual harassment. Students are also encouraged to take a stand, change their focus and break free from the constraints of an unrealistic body image.

“We are very excited to implement this program to schools in our region,” said local EDCT board member Misty Bays. “Young people are very easily influenced, and this is a great opportunity to teach them that beauty comes from within, warn them about the dangers of eating disorders and teach them lifelong wellness skills.”

EDCT will be providing before-and-after posters of celebrities who have been digitally altered, as well as posters that show a Barbie doll’s unrealistic, life-sized proportions. The group will also be providing poster board, markers, etc. where needed.

Participating schools include Towne Acres Elementary, Ridgeview Elementary, Love Chapel Elementary, North Side Elementary, Holston Valley Middle, Colonial Heights Middle, Blountville Middle, Bluff City Middle, Sullivan South High, Science Hill High, David Crockett High and Cherokee High schools, Sullivan Middle, Central High, East High, North High, Indian Trail Middle, Rogersville City, McDonald Elementary, Debusk Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Doak Elementary, Mosheim Middle, Mosheim Elementary, Nolachucky Elementary, Camp Creek Elementary, as well as Willow School at Woodridge Hospital.

If your school is interested in having a YES! Team or for more information, call Bays at 423-764-1113.

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