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Eating Disorders Program



The Eating Disorders Program at UO has been designed to serve students dealing with:

  • anorexia
  • bulimia
  • binge eating

We utilize a team approach in our program in order to offer a comprehensive treatment plan. The team consists of representatives from the fields of:

  • medicine
  • psychology
  • exercise
  • nutrition

who work together with the client toward stated goals.

What is an eating disorder? Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are the three most common eating disorders.

Someone with anorexia:

  • has an intense fear of gaining weight and typically has lost 15% of their original body weight
  • has a distorted body image and often engages in intense and excessive exercise

    Women may experience an interruption in their menstrual cycle due to weight loss and inadequate nutrition.
  • may experience hunger but feel in control when they resist the urge to eat

Someone with bulimia typically:

  • engages in binge eating - eating large portions of food at one sitting, often in response to emotional, environmental stressors, or dieting
    These episodes are often characterized by a feeling of being out of control of their eating.
  • very often purges after binging to alleviate the discomfort and guilt created by food intake

Those with binge eating:

  • tend to eat more than what is needed to maintain a healthy body
  • generally eat in response to emotional or environmental stressors as well as responding to intense hunger from deprivation and dieting
  • usually has dieted repeatedly in the past and has experienced shame about food and body
  • feel discouraged and view their ability to handle their problems as inadequate   

All of these eating disorders are serious health problems, perhaps life threatening, and can benefit from professional treatment available at UO.


UO offers a team approach to working with clients experiencing eating disorders. We have found that a comprehensive approach seems to be the most beneficial to clients because it maximizes services and support. Our team consists of members from the following disciplines:

  • Psychology
  • Medical
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

All members work together to help you achieve the best and healthiest results for you. Following is a description of the services offered according to specialty area.


Counseling services may consist of group, and possibly individual, counseling. The team requires each person to participate in a weekly group. The group is psycho-educational in nature - it will focus on issues related to interpersonal relationships, self esteem, body image, nutrition, appropriate exercise planning and medical issues related to eating disorders. Educational material will be presented in approximately half the group sessions and subsequent sessions will be used to discuss these issues as they relate to each member. Group counseling is scheduled for 8 weeks and members are asked to attend each session for the 8 week duration. Some clients also benefit from individual counseling. They may be assigned a counselor with whom they can meet on a regular basis to process issues both related and unrelated to their eating disorder. Frequency of sessions and scheduling will be determined by each client and her/his counselor. Our individual services are brief in nature, and thus, the student may be referred out for longer term individual therapy.They can also participate in our group program if receiving therapy elsewhere.


Individualized nutrition education is a vital component in the treatment of eating disorders. Because many people with disordered eating follow rigid diet rules and have chaotic eating patterns, one of the primary goals of nutrition intervention is to assist the client in changing food behaviors in an incremental fashion until food intake patterns are normalized. Defining and discussing relevant principles and concepts of food and nutrition, as well as the effects of starvation and/or binge-purge types of behavior have on metabolism will be explored. The nutrition contribution of the team approach deals with:

  • correcting malnourishment problems
  • assisting the individual to attain a weight that is healthful for that individual without using abnormal food-weight related behaviors
  • helping one learn to be comfortable in social eating situations
Sports Medicine

In sports medicine/physical therapy the goal will be to work with individuals to set up an appropriate exercise program suited to each person's specific needs. Information will be gathered about each client's current lifestyle, stress and activity levels, postural habits, feelings about exercise and any current injuries. Clients will be encouraged and supported toward a goal of self-management of their customized program over an eight week period.


Medical evaluation is an essential portion of the care and treatment of significant eating disorders. Some patients risk serious, or even life-threatening problems and the prevention and treatment of these urgent concerns is an important goal. Depending on individual needs, a physical exam and laboratory or other testing will be required as part of a thorough evaluation. In addition, the promotion of healthy behavior and good nutrition is emphasized.