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Sheppard Pratt Health System

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The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt Hosts "The Body Project" to Help Local Universities Promote Positive Body Image

Program by Dr. Eric Stice and Dr. Carolyn Becker prepares college professionals to train and supervise students to reduce body dissatisfaction and eating disorder symptoms among young women.

Baltimore, MD, February 06, 2014 --( Clinical eating disorders are said to impact between 10 and 20 percent of female university students. Maybe more concerning is the alarmingly high rate at which negative body image and other general disordered eating behaviors like chronic dieting, fasting and over-exercising are seen among this population. To help reverse the statistics, the Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt is pleased to present the Body Project, a research-supported training designed to prepare college staff and students to help young women resist cultural pressures regarding female beauty and reduce their pursuit of the thin-ideal. The two-day training will take place February 7-8, 2014, at the Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt in Towson, Maryland.

More than 24 individuals from five universities, including James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, McDaniel College, Towson University and Virginia Tech, will gather to be educated on the peer-led, dissonance-based, body-acceptance program, with the goal of improving body image on their own campuses. Once trained, the college professionals will be able to train additional students each year in the theory and implementation of the Body Project, allowing the program further reach to more students who may be facing body image struggles.

“Each day we see the challenges and importance associated with addressing body image and preventing eating disorders,” said Dr. Steven Crawford, Co-Director at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt. “When statistics are showing at least three quarters of college students are dissatisfied with their weight and may be struggling with negative body image, it becomes imperative that we address these issues on college campuses in more effective ways and on a larger scale. Collaborating with the Body Project, which is proven to reduce thin-ideal internalization, body dissatisfaction, negative mood, unhealthy dieting and even eating disorder symptoms, is part of our efforts to make a positive impact by reducing the number of people who struggle with negative body image and hopefully preventing the development of eating disorders.”

The Body Project was formed in 2012 by Dr. Eric Stice, a tenured research professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute and Dr. Carolyn Becker, a professor of psychology at Trinity University, as a way to train people interested in changing the eating disorder landscape. With more than 27 years of experience in testing and running the Body Project in various settings, the program to date expands to over 100 college campuses, and is supported by more research than any other body image program.

Dr. Becker, responsible for the strategy behind training collegiate peer-leaders to facilitate the Body Project in groups within university settings, will be facilitating the two-day program at Sheppard Pratt. In addition to teaching at Trinity University, Dr. Becker is also a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment and prevention of eating disorders, as well as in the use of exposure therapy to treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Author to copious peer reviewed journal articles, Dr. Becker also serves as associate editor of Behaviour Research and Therapy.

About the Center for Eating Disorders
The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, located in Towson, MD., offers a comprehensive continuum of treatment services for the patient with complex eating disorders. The continuum includes inpatient, day hospital and intensive outpatient services, as well as ongoing outpatient treatment provided by The Center for Eating Disorders, P.A. The program is designed to respond to both the psychiatric and medical aspects of eating disorders, with a comprehensive array of mental health and consultative medical resources. For more information, visit and

About Sheppard Pratt Health System
Sheppard Pratt Health System, in operation since 1891, is a nationally renowned mental health and special education system, dedicated to treatment, professional training and research. With its outstanding psychiatric residency training program, the Health System is a proven leader in mental health education, ranking among the top mental health hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for the 23rd consecutive year. Sheppard Pratt continues to expand its continuum of care for children, adolescents, adults and the elderly, introducing new treatment modalities in locations throughout the Baltimore region and the state.
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Sheppard Pratt Health System
Chelsea Soobitsky

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