There is much to celebrate for Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran. This coming weekend, Liana turns 23, and on May 8th, Kristina Saffran turns 22—and this month their non-profit, which they started as teens, Project HEAL, turns 6. Not only that, they are both graduating college and will soon be working full-time on their efforts to raise money for teens who cannot afford eating disorder treatment.
Diminish Society's Obsession with Body Image
In their own words, they remark "We want to diminish society’s obsession with body image by encouraging people to accept their bodies. People do not have to love everything about their bodies, but it is important that they learn to embrace their perceived flaws and ‘imperfections.’ We hope that by providing encouragement and support we can help those struggling with body image issues from developing full-blown eating disorders."
Liana and Kristina, who were both diagnosed with eating disorders at the middle school ages of 12 and 10, met while undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa. These two girls inspired each other to reach a full recovery—and they want the same for other teens. You can hear their inspiring stories of co-founding Project Heal by clicking on this video.
So far, they've sent 10 teens to treatment, which can be upwards of $15,000+, and are on a mission to collect enough money during their
"3-birthday" week to send one more. Here's how you can donate.
Advice for Parents on The Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders
TeenLife recently wrote an extremely informative blog on the harsh realities of eating disorders that was certainly eye-opening for even me.
In the past year, I have enlisted the help of my pediatrician and a nutritionist to inform my own tween and teen daughters about healthy eating, which has been scrutinized by other of my peers. But based on the advice, tips, and warning signs provided for parents in this extremely poignant post, I am taking the right steps to promote a healthy lifestyle for my family, which is encouraging.
Eating Disorders Can Start During College
Obviously, eating disorders can also be exasperated—or can even be perpetuated—in college.
In another recent TeenLife post, Misdiagnosis of Eating Disorders in College, we highlight other valuable information on what to look out for if you suspect your college co-ed has a problem.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 25 percent of all college students struggle from an eating disorder and a 2013 study by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) shows that eating disorders have recently increased on college campuses. Claire Mysko, who overseas teen outreach for NEDA explains, “College can be a triggering time for young people who might already be vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. Colleges are high-pressure environments both academically and socially, and for many students college is their first time away from home and their support systems.
The blog post also profiles, Frances Chan, an undergraduate at Yale, who was actually subjected to mandatory weigh-ins by the campus health center. Chan, who has a naturally lean frame, does not have an eating disorder; however, this only goes to show that more education and training among parents, school administrators, and on college campuses is also needed.
Whether your child is in middle school, high school, or college, I encourage all parents to stay updated and aware of the resources available for teens struggling with an eating disorder.