If you are at imminent risk for self-harm please go to the Madison Memorial Emergency Room. For individuals who are at risk for harming themselves or are having a similar significant crisis, please dial 211 to access the Idaho Careline and be prepared to select Option 3. For students who are actively meeting with a BYU-Idaho counselor and are at risk for harming themselves or having a similar significant crisis, please call 208-496-HELP (208-496-4357.)


College-age women are at high risk for eating disorder beliefs, feelings and behaviors long before this obsessive emphasis on weight, thinness, losing weight, dieting, restricting, fears of gaining weight, body image, body comparing, etc. cross the line into a full-blown eating disorder. Earlier awareness, recognition, and intervention to prevent a serious eating disorder is very important for college students. Statistics suggest that college-age women impacted by the eating disorders of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder and their combined and distinct variations are at approximately 15-20% of women and a growing percentage of men.

Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive fear of weight gain, refusal to maintain healthy body weight, and a distorted body image. Individuals with this disorder will greatly restrict and limit food intake to a significant degree each day, fast often, skip meals, and can, at times, also engage in purging (vomiting), excessive over-exercising, and abuse of laxatives and diet pills. Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by repeated episodes of binge eating (consuming a large amount of food in a short period of time) and purging (eliminating calorie consumption) by compensatory methods of self-induced vomiting, compulsive exercise, and laxative and diet pill use. Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating in a rapid manner, when not hungry, and often until extreme fullness, marked by feelings of being unable to stop eating or control what or how much they are eating.

Eating disorders are complex illnesses with many causes and variations. There are many psychological, emotional, spiritual, relationship, physical and medical factors, considerations, and consequences in the development and worsening of an eating disorder illness. Eating disorders often start out as the “solution” or means to help an individual to feel better about themselves and increase self-esteem, increase the positive approval and acceptance from others, improve their appearance and body image, and to increase a sense of personal control over their lives, etc., but over the course of the illness, the eating disorder can become a painful and consuming obsession that takes over the life of the individual and can create a great deal of emotional pain, shame and self- contempt and greatly disrupt their functioning in many areas of their lives and can negatively impact their ability to have positive and loving connections and relationships with others people and family. To help build awareness and understanding about eating disorders, eating disorder prevention, and eating disorder support and treatment, we recommend the following national eating disorder websites for you.

(The following resources are not created, maintained, or controlled by BYU-Idaho and are intended to serve as an educational resource. BYU-Idaho does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with university policy or doctrines and teaching of the Church.)

Additional Resources


  • Nutrition Matters Hosted by Paige Smathers
  • Love, Food by Julie Duffy Dillon
  • Food Psych by Christy Harrison
  • Nutrition Redefined By Stephanie Webb