How a CMU Student Spreads Eating Disorder Awareness

Story & Photos by Chanda Crenshaw

Shannon Huff, junior, knows first hand just how much an impact media and environment can have on one’s eating habits.

In always having a close relationship with her mothe,r she mimicked some of her actions as a child. “I grew up in a household where I saw my mother constantly dieting. I watched and learned what foods where healthy and which ones where not good for you—and I love both my parents, I just became very observant.”

Huff developed an eating disorder that spiraled out of control. She didn’t recognize the problem within herself or receive help until she was in a bad state. She says her personal experience with eating disorders makes the topic more difficult to talk about, however she strides to help others through her awareness.

Children in the U.S. view at least 18 different food advertisements per day, messages pertaining to diets and eating alternatives. Some may say this could be the cause of young children developing eating disorders sooner than later. Huff says, “Statistics have shown that the age in which children are starting eating disorders is dropping in age. Children can be diagnosed with an eating disorder as young as 8.”

Huff paired with  Claire Kinloch, sophomore, and joined Project HEAL, a non-profit organization focused on delivering prevention and treatment to people who may suffer from eating disorders. People who suffer from eating disorders may not always have the funds necessarily to seek to the proper counseling and treatment. A portion of funds raised with Project HEAL are for those who need treatment and participating in awareness events. Both Huff and Kinloch, are working on incorporating Project HEAL and Central Michigan University dietitians club as one as both have been members of the club for over a year. “We’re going to need more help as time goes on. The main thing is to continue this great thing and have it become apart of CMU campus after we leave,” Kinloch said.