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Body Positive

Our Body Positive team envisions a body positive community at UVA where everyone enjoys a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and body image. Through partnerships with organizations across Grounds we work to provide resources and create awareness about these issues, as well as offer support to those affected. Many students are affected by body image issues that make it more difficult for them to make the most of their college experience. We strive to change that.

“We are pleased that the UVA Women’s Center is one of our NEDA partners. Their Body Positive program is an innovative program appropriate for all college campuses. It connects students, staff and faculty to share information that is critical to the healthy adjustment of college students.”

Robbie Munn, Past Board Chair of the National Eating Disorders Association


Coalition Efforts

Our Body Positive staff and interns work with other offices and student organizations across Grounds to build a more body positive culture on Grounds. The UVA Coalition on Eating Disorders and Exercise Concerns is a committee of students, and multidisciplinary faculty and staff dedicated to advancing the understanding, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders and exercise abuse throughout the University community. 

The Body Project

The Body Project is a cognitive-dissonance-based body acceptance intervention. It provides adolescent girls and young women with opportunities to voice the harmful effects they have seen and felt resulting from the appearance ideal that prevails in our culture. As they do so, participants dismantle their own tendency to equate being thin with being beautiful, successful, and happy. Learn more about the Body Project and national studies showing its effectiveness here.

While completing her PhD at the Curry School a few years ago, Nora Arkin conducted research at the Women’s Center showing the effectiveness of the Body Project among UVA students. Information about Nora's research and a link to the full report are here

Typical Activities for Interns on this team

Students who intern with the Body Positive team are passionate about creating a body positive culture on Grounds and are interested in issues related to body image, eating, and exercise. Our body positive interns receive the training they need to serve as facilitators of Body Project sessions. They offer these workshops to peers across Grounds throughout the year. These interns also play an important role in tradition like our annual Body Positivi-tea and initiatives like Perfect Illusions and Celebrate Every Body Week which are hosted together with our cross-Grounds partners.