“ I’ve kind of dedicated my life to raising awareness about eating disorders, positive body image and self-esteem,” said Kaitlyn Dinneh Wozniak, Miss DC U.S. International.
Every decade since the 1930s, there has been a rise in anorexia in teens, ages 15-19 years-old, said the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA).
When Wozniak was 14-years-old, she said she was diagnosed with anorexia-nervosa, which she fought for four years.
“It was a huge struggle and now it’s something I’ve fully recovered.” Wozniak went through therapy and treatment to get to where she is today.
She said it is difficult but fun to be in pageants.
“ I’ve had wonderful opportunities that have come out of it, especially promoting my platform, eating disorder awareness,” said Wozniak.
As a pageant winner, she is able to get her message across to many with her voice in the community.
“There are 30 million people in the world struggling with eating disorders, 10 to 20 percent of those are males. Primarily it affects women. A lot of that is due to social media; the pressures on women to look a certain way, ” said Wozniak.
NEDA conducted a survey in 2010 and 70 percent of Americans believe if the media and advertisers used “more average sized people” in their ads then it would reduce or prevent eating disorders.
“It’s really important that we equip our young girls and women to really stand up for ourselves, be critical media consumers.”
Wozniak gives up her crown this May, but she will continue to advocate for those suffering from eating disorders.
Wozniak aspires to be a Clinical Psychologist and is well on her way after she graduates from American University this May.