URMC, Eating Disorders Treatment Network Bring Movie to Rochester

America the Beautiful Explores Society’s Pressure to Be Thin

October 14, 2008

Eating disorders are not caused by society’s obsession to be thin and beautiful. However, these pressures can trigger problems in people who are pre-disposed to developing this illness. These pressures can also contribute to unhealthy weight control practices, disorder eating and obesity in adolescents. That's why western New York's network of eating disorders treatment programs brought the film "America the Beautiful" and filmmaker Darryl Roberts to Rochester.

“Our society tells us that our self worth is tied to our looks. That's terrible for anyone, but it's especially toxic for people who are more likely than others to develop an eating disorder. It is also very harmful to adolescents who feel increased pressure to diet and change their physical appearance to fit in with their peers,” said Mary Tantillo, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s School of Nursing and director of the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders (WNYCCCED). “This film does a wonderful job of pointing out all the subtle, and not-so-subtle ways we tell boys and girls, men and women they must be thin and young to be beautiful.”

"America the Beautiful" (2007), which won an award for best director at the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival, is a socially probing documentary that explores the question, “Does America have an unhealthy obsession with physical beauty?” Roberts develops several story lines in the film including interviews with representatives from the beauty and weight loss industries and interviews with a modeling sensation as she moves along her career between the ages of 12 to 17.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at Pittsford Plaza Cinema. Roberts will conduct a question and answer session immediately following the film. Tickets are $10 and the proceeds go to the WNYCCCED. The screening is sponsored by Wegmans and WNYCCCED. For more information about the movie and to see the trailer, visit http://www.americathebeautifuldoc.com.

The other goals of bringing the movie here are to raise awareness about the services available to people with eating disorders and their families and to encourage prevention, early intervention and quick referral for help.

“We’re lucky in western New York because we have such a comprehensive network of services available to people with eating disorders,” said Rich Kreipe, M.D., medical director of the WNYCCCED and adolescent medicine specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong. “Our program includes preventative work and training with school personnel and primary care providers. It spans all ages, both women and men, many health care systems and it encompasses a huge swath of the state, from Buffalo to Jamestown, all the way up to the North Country and south to Binghamton. No teenager, no young woman, no parent has to go through this alone.”

Both comprehensive outpatient and inpatient medical care for children and teens is provided at Golisano Children’s Hospital. The Eating Disorder Program at Unity’s St. Mary’s campus provides individual treatment for adults and partial hospitalization for patients over 12 years of age. For out-of-town patients up to age 18 in the partial hospitalization program, St. Joseph’s Villa has been providing eating disorders residential care.  St. Joseph’s Villa is preparing to open the only adolescent (12-18) eating disorders residential treatment facility in New York State for patients. St. Joseph’s has renovated one of the cottages on their Dewey Avenue campus to serve all youth up to age 18 and their families.

For more information about the WNYCCCED, please call (585) 368-3417.

For Media Inquiries:
Heather Hare
(585) 273-2840
Email Heather Hare