FACTS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS, THE USNA, AND SERVICE SELECTION
FACT: Efforts to achieve our culture’s body ideal combined with USNA pressures, culture, and lifestyle put midshipmen at risk for developing eating disorders.
FACT: Having disordered eating attitudes and behaviors does not necessarily mean that one’s symptoms meet the clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder.
FACT: Disordered eating attitudes and behaviors become an Eating Disorder when there is a persistent disturbance of eating behavior or behavior intended to control weight which significantly impairs physical health and psychosocial functioning.
FACT: Purging and severe calorie restriction can lead to decreased metabolism, loss of muscular strength and endurance, stress fractures, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, fainting, weakness and slow heart rates, decreased concentration, and slowed reaction times..
FACT: Untreated, disordered eating behaviors can be progressive, and are often socially, psychologically, professionally, and physically damaging.
FACT: Disordered eating behaviors are quite responsive to treatment…especially with early intervention. USNA resources include an eating disorder specialist and a sports dietitian specially trained in treating eating disorders located in the Midshipmen Development Center.
FACT: USNA Policy on Eating Disorders (Comdtmidn Instruction 6100.1A) is “to encourage midshipmen experiencing disordered eating symptoms to use available services to minimize the likelihood of progression of their symptoms so as to help them develop into fully prepared officers for the fleet.”
FACT: According to Comdtmidn Instruction 6100.1A, “the medical diagnosis of an eating disorder shall not, in and of itself, preclude commissioning as an Unrestricted Line Officer. However, special duty communities (e.g. aviation, nuclear power, diving) require further screening external to the USNA and have more restrictive policies regarding a clinically diagnosed eating disorder.”
FACT: Midshipmen Development Center records are NOT medical records and therefore can offer a high degree of confidentiality. However, eating disorder symptoms sometimes require a referral to Brigade Medical to ensure the midshipman’s health is not in danger.
FACT: Dr. Jackie Cooper, Midshipmen Development Center Eating Disorder Specialist, is available for informal, confidential consultations regarding the above. To make a consultation appointment send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.