FOUR Wimmera women will shine a spotlight on the growing problem of eating disorders and body image at a special forum next month.
Sarah Wickes, Hayley Jende, Maddison Peters and Alyshia Okely hope the forum will promote awareness of eating disorders, equip Wimmera people with a positive body image mindset and provide tips to block out negative body thoughts.
The forum will be at Grains Innovation Park in Horsham on August 13.
It will feature speakers from Eating Disorders Victoria and Wimmera women Lindy Muller, Rachel Gellert and Jodie Cooper.
Mrs Wickes said the forum was part of The Real Beauty Revolution project the four women were implementing through the Leadership Wimmera Regional Leadership Skills program.
“Eating disorders are a growing problem across the nation,” she said.
“In 2003 there were about 235,000 known instances of eating disorders in Australia but by 2012 this had risen to an astounding 913,000.
“This suggests that the issue is becoming more and more prevalent and not just in metropolitan areas.
“In the Wimmera we have reports of both adults and children affected.”
Mrs Wickes said regional residents often suffered in silence.
“The challenge for us is that eating disorder-specific organisations are run primarily from capital cities, which can result in limited professional services available regionally,” she said.
“This can make it difficult for regional sufferers to access help.
“Hopefully our forum will help promote positive body image in our community and educate people on where they can go to access help and support for sufferers, carers or friends.”
Mrs Wickes said many people with an eating disorder did not look frail, skeletal or overweight.
“A person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are a truer measure of holistic wellness,” she said.
“It’s all about learning to love themselves from the inside out.”
Mrs Wickes said the forum would be informative and interactive.
“We encourage people of all ages to come and attend this event and gain important knowledge that can help our community better deal with this growing issue,” she said.
Mrs Wickes said people could email their names and contact numbers to firstname.lastname@example.org to register their interest for the forum.
She said people could visit www.facebook.com/therealbeautyrevolution to keep up to date with news, announcements and competitions.