Beaumont, former Miss America to host eating disorders event

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published November 28, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS/TROY  — Counting calories and watching what you eat can be just what the doctor ordered, especially when trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

The danger comes when these practices veer toward an unhealthy and extreme obsession, said Dr. Jaime Taylor, medical director for the Hough Center for Adolescent Health Eating Disorders Clinic at Beaumont Health, Troy.

“Eating disorders do not discriminate,” Taylor said, adding that eating disorders are not one size fits all. “It is really difficult to paint a picture of what ... eating disorders look like.”

However, Taylor said some traits are evident of binge-eating bulimia: hiding food; and making meals and not eating them, but “vicariously enjoying” the meal as someone else eats it.

Bulimia and other eating disorders will be discussed during a free event called “Shedding the Light on Eating Disorders” with former Miss America Kirsten Haglund 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Qazi Auditorium at Beaumont Hospital, Troy’s Moceri Learning Center, 44201 Dequindre Road. 

The event will feature a meet-and-greet with Haglund and medical experts 5:30-6:30 p.m. along with refreshments, according to a press release. A silent auction will be held, with proceeds benefiting eating disorder treatment scholarships for Hough Center patients, the release states. 

Beaumont Children’s Hospital Hough Center and the Kirsten Haglund Foundation will host the free educational event; Haglund will give the keynote speech, followed by a discussion with experts Taylor, Lauren Baker, Dana Shapero, and Rosanna Marrocco.

Red flags that could indicate an eating disorder, nutrition’s role in eating disorder recovery, eating disorder myths and therapy solutions will be discussed.

Haglund, of Farmington Hills, became Miss America in 2008 at age 19. She has told her story of dealing with anorexia.

“It is so important for people to know if they are struggling, they are not alone. Millions struggle with eating disorders, and there are great treatment options,” Haglund said in the release. 

Haglund said during a phone interview that she has always had a good relationship with the Beaumont Children’s Hough Center, where she was treated when she first struggled with her own eating disorder “when struggling more than 10 years ago.” 

She started her foundation in 2009, after her Miss America win. 

Haglund said her platform focused on advocacy and prevention of eating disorders.

“I wanted to continue that work when I was done,” she said.

Taylor said that some signs of an eating disorder include mood changes, loss of interest in favorite activities, and hiding and sneaking food.

Some people with eating disorders tend to watch a lot of cooking shows, she said.

“People who are binge-eating bulimia … sneak food, have guilt and shame about their eating. … (You) may find they have wrappers under their bed,” Taylor said.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 30 million Americans of all ages and genders have an eating disorder. Someone dies every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder.

“Many people and families battle eating disorders every day. It can be especially challenging for teenagers. That’s why it’s so important to address the physical, emotional and social changes that occur during the adolescent years,” Taylor said in the release.

Taylor said during a phone interview that she hopes people will see eating disorders for what they are.

“I hope that people will recognize that eating disorders are a serious illness that require significant intervention,” she said, adding that the answers are there. “There is help readily available for them.”

She said hundreds of patients are seen each year, and that number is growing each year.

“We love to be able to point to one factor that is causing (it),” she said, but eating disorders are “multifactorial.”

Social media and the expectations it can create may be one of those factors, she added.

The event is free, but registration is requested. 

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