College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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Location: Elizabethtown, PA, United States

The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


As you can imagine from my last post, many of the body image issues that college students face can lead to eating disorders. Research compiled at the website of the National Eating Disorder Association indicates that:

91% of college females attempt to control their weight through dieting
35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting
20 to 25% (of those 35%) progress to partial or full syndrome eating disorders
78% of college women reported having bingeing experiences
8.2% used self-induced vomiting to control weight

(And this is not just a problem for college women. College men feel pressure to look like the latest “fashion magazine” as well. Many will spend hours in the gym trying to look a certain way.)

Author and speaker, Constance Rhodes recently emailed me:

“Something to think about… College is a huge trigger point for disordered eating. Transitioning from having all your meals prepared for you at home, to being on your own in the grocery dept. is part of it. Also, crazy schedules, pizza parties, beer fests, etc. put on the pounds, which can trigger some people into unhealthy compensatory behaviors. Binging and purging is rampant in college dorms, and can sometimes seem like a way to cope w/ new academic and social stresses. And others may find that restricting their diet becomes easier as they throw themselves into their studies.”

Constance’s book, Life Inside the “Thin” Cage: A Personal Look into the Hidden World of the Chronic Dieter is an invaluable resource for those looking to learn more about these issues. Chapter eight includes a short discussion on college transition and the challenges that can lead to eating disorders. You can read CPYU’s short review of the book here.

Constance is also the founder of, the first national organization dedicated to helping those who struggle with EDNOS (eating disorders not otherwise specified). The website is very helpful and provides many practical tools.

My hope and prayer is that many parents and youth group leaders begin to discuss these issues with students before sending them college. Constance’s resources equip us well for that task.


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