Dying to Be Thin, Friday

Press release

By on Wed, January 20, 2010

On Friday January 22, The Visionary Edge will present an event on eating disorders inspired by the Nova documentary Dying to Be Thin in Half Moon Bay.  

In discussion with two local moms, Susan George and Dr. Keely Rollings,  Reba Vanderpool of The Visionary Edge discovered that the three women had something in common: a passion to bring interesting, informative events to the coast that will support a healthy lifestyle and foster a culture of connection and support.  The three decided to start a series of community events with the first one focusing on eating disorders.  

Babysitting will be provided for $5 per child for the evening with a 24 hour advance reservation. Call 650-207-3440.

Friday, January 22nd. Doors will open at 7:00pm, event begins at 7:30 at the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), HMB. Suggested donation $5 individual, $10 per family. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call 650-207-3440 for information and reservations.

Anorexia and bulimia have become mainstream maladies, with millions of cases throughout the U.S.  Anorexia alone accounts for the highest death rate of any psychological illness. If patients survive, the effects of self-imposed starvation can be extreme, from bone loss to heart damage. Dr. Joan Jacobs Brumberg, professor of psychology and history at Cornell University and author of ‘‘Fasting Girls: The Emergence of Anorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease,’’ points out that young women today ‘‘are increasingly tuned in to a celebrity culture, where the models’ and actresses’ bodies are considerably thinner than they’ve ever been in the past. ‘‘Dr. Brumberg says: ‘‘This is very seductive and hard for young girls to resist. The pressure to be thin is keenly felt by college girls and is now spreading across racial, gender and economic classes.’‘

The NOVA documentary Dying to Be Thin directed by Larkin McPhee and narrated by Susan Sarandon, examines an ominous rise in the life-threatening disorders, anorexia and bulimia. A  

14-year-old looks at her image and says, "I see somebody that is fat and ugly and a disappointment." She is among a growing number of young American girls afflicted with such eating disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Tormented by an irrational fear of being fat, an estimated eight million young women are torturing themselves—sometimes to death.

It is no wonder eighty percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Driven by the waif-like images flooding the media of popular actresses, models, dancers and celebrities—who can weigh nearly twenty-five percent less than the average American woman—young girls are obsessed with an unattainable image of perfection.

Dying To Be Thin introduces students, ballet dancers, fashion models and other young women who are seeking recovery or have conquered their disease. Plus it reveals how leading eating disorder specialists are making dramatic advances in the diagnosis and treatment of these two devastating diseases. It goes behind the scenes for a courageous and candid look at America’s body obsession.

For the Half Moon Bay event, a panel composed of local as well as peninsula professionals who specialize in various aspects of treatment for eating disorders will use the film as  a conversational launching pad for discussion.  The panel will include:

Dr. Keely Sikes Rollings, a Half Moon Bay resident, is a licensed clinical psychologist with offices in both Los Altos and Half Moon Bay says "I have a passion for raising healthy daughters—probably because I am a daughter and I am raising a daughter of my own. I speak to parent and school groups on the topic of raising healthy girls, eating disorders as well as female relational aggression and bullying. I believe that our girls can and should be coached to be both confident and competent by their families, schools and the greater community." For more than 10 years Dr. Rollings has worked with individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, eating disorders and attention deficit disorders. She also helps those who want to boost their self-confidence and work on relationship and social issues. In addition, she offers support as a parent-coach to parents who need help with discipline strategies, sibling rivalry and building healthy parent-child relationships.

Dr. Jennifer Penney is a licensed psychologist and program director for the Center for Discovery in Menlo Park, a six bed residential treatment facility for children ages 10-19 years old who are struggling with eating disorders. Dr. Penney also works in private practice at The Pratt Center, where she provides psychotherapy to families, couples and children. Dr. Penney specializes in working with children and their families around difficulties such as family conflict, communication struggles, depression, anxiety, self-harm, sexual abuse and other traumas.

Katherine Dittman is a Registered Dietician with the Center for Discovery in Menlo Park.

Maureen Perron of Half Moon Bay is a Regisitered Dietician, current President of the Board of Directors for The HEAL Project, and founder of The Coastside Health Committee, a community based non profit organization that addresses issues and seeks solutions in the area of access to health and human services for underserved populations on the coastside of San Mateo County. 


Emily McCormick of Half Moon Bay is a licensed clinical social worker, who for the past ten years has worked in private practice and school settings providing individual, group and family counseling.  The focus of Emily’s practice is building stronger families.  Issues affecting children that she works with include: divorce, abuse, adoption, behavior issues, anxiety, depression, OCD, and eating disorders. In counseling, her goal is for families to become more connected, and for kids to develop new coping skills. Emily has a specialty in divorce and blended family issues and offers a co-parenting group. She also enjoys working with individuals and couples and is certified to provide premarital counseling.

According to event co-planner Susan George “This is a grass roots cause and necessary since we do not have the resources here on the coast for our kids.  It is time we place an emphasis on teaching, learning and working together…parents and kids, to be the best we can be from a very early age.  Whether it is knowing when a friend has gone too far with dieting, or when a child is reaching out for help, the more we know about these factors, the better a community we can become.  Knowledge is power and we need to share the knowledge because We Are Each Other’s Keepers!”

This event will be co-hosted by The Visionary Edge and Community United Methodist Church, and sponsored in part by Starbucks.  Said Vanderpool of The Visionary Edge “We are hoping to find corporate and professional sponsors for this series so we can bring future events to the community without charge.  The topics are important and the events are great opportunities for growth, learning, and tool gathering, as well as for developing community and support networks.”

Vanderpool continued “It is our hope that every parent on the coast will come and bring their children. Because of the massive power of the advertising industry, our families, our children,  are subjected to not only unhealthy body images, but in fact, many advertisements portray body images that are not obtainable in real life. They are  created by photo manipulation. This educational event is designed to reveal that fallacy, discuss both short and  long-term ramifications of  eating disorders, and to provide help and resources for dealing with these disorders.”

Located in Half Moon Bay, The Visionary Edge produces events to inform, inspire, and empower us all to create a wiser, sustainable and more compassionate world.