North American Expert to Address Eating Disorders among Teens at Sheena's
Place 9th Annual Awareness Breakfast

Dr. Neumark-Sztainer discusses parents role in helping teens stay fit, eat well, feel good

TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Stay lean - but super-size your meal. Conflicting societal messages are making it difficult for today's teens to feel good about their bodies, according to Dr. Neumark-Sztainer, leading American eating disorder expert and author. Dr. Neumark-Sztainer addressed a crowd of about 400 people this morning at the 9th annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank in support of Sheena's Place - a community-based, not-for-profit organization that offers hope and support to individuals and families affected by eating disorders and related issues.

"We live in a society that pressures children and adolescents to have a lean and muscular body shape, while bombarding them with messages likely to lead to overeating and under exercising," said Dr. Neumark-Sztainer. "The result is that many young people express body dissatisfaction, engage in disordered eating behaviors, are overweight, and have extremely dangerous eating disorders." Dr. Neumark-Sztainer suggests families have an important role to play in helping their children feel better about their bodies and engage in healthy behaviors, within a society that works against both.

Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, is a researcher and professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, where she also serves as the principal investigator for Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of adolescent eating behaviors to date. Her book, "I'm, like, SO, fat" - Helping your teen make healthy choices about eating and exercise in a weight-obsessed world" focuses on how to give healthy messages to teens struggling with preoccupation about weight and body shape.

"To make a real difference we need to promote healthy strategies within the family as well as at community and societal levels," says Anne Elliott, Program Director, Sheena's Place. "Dr. Neumark-Sztainer's words today are a reminder that a productive and positive dialogue at home can play an important role in promoting a healthy body image. How we broach the topic of food, weight, shape and exercise with children and teens can help prevent harmful eating disorders. "

The 9th Annual Sheena's Place Awareness Breakfast, presented by Scotiabank, is a focal point for Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Sheena's Place is also hosting its 9th annual Open Forum for the general public on Saturday, February 6th, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon. This year's Open Forum features Dr. Neumark-Sztainer and a panel discussion moderated by Beatrice Politi from Global TV.

The Forum will take place at the Velma Rogers Graham Theatre in the Rogers Building, 333 Bloor Street East (at Jarvis Street). The public may attend the forum by registering online at

"As a leading employer, committed to wellness, Scotiabank recognizes the importance of supporting the efforts of community organizations like Sheena's Place," said Sylvia Chrominska, Group Head, Global Human Resources and Communications for Scotiabank. "Sheena's Place provides valuable educational programs as well as a safe place to heal for individuals affected by eating disorders."

    About Sheena's Place

Centrally located in downtown Toronto, Sheena's Place is a community-based registered charity that offers a comprehensive program of support groups that give individuals with eating disorders and their families a safe place to give and receive support. These support groups nourish hope and provide courage for individuals to carry on with dignity and humour making choices about their own path to recovery. No referral is necessary and we respect the need and desire for confidentiality. Our programs are offered at no cost to participants. We are able to provide these free services thanks to the generosity and financial support of individuals, corporations, foundations, and the proceeds from our special events.

    About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2009 the Bank provided about $39 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Visit us at

SOURCE Scotiabank

For further information: For further information: Deborah Clark, Scotiabank Public Affairs, (416) 933-0646,; or Anne Elliott, Sheena's Place, (416) 927-8900

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