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Miss America’s Triumph Over Eating Disorder


Eating disorders affect an estimated eight million to twenty-four million people in the United States today. This epidemic often goes unseen and affects celebrities and normal people alike. 2008 Miss America, Kristen Haglund is a prime example of what it’s like to be plagued by Anorexia and overcome it.

Kristen began ballet and jazz when she was 3 years old. Her parents felt this was an excellent idea due to her energetic nature.  She was drawn to the performing arts at an early age. At age ten she switched to an all-ballet dance studio. She was the normal weight for her height, but normal wasn’t good enough for her ballet aspirations. Her body image became very important, and she soon developed issues around it. She says “If you ate like a normal person you were looked down upon.”  Starting at age 12, she began to starve herself; she lost 30 pounds, subsisting on a diet of less than 1000 calories per day. Her and her parents began to notice some common symptoms of anorexia, such as: hair falling out in the shower and irregular heartbeat during workouts.

After living with the eating disorder for 3 years, Kristen’s parents forced her into rehab.   She did Two years of outpatient treatment, and met regularly with a nutritionist and eating disorder specialists. It was during this time she discovered that her passion to become a beauty pageant queen, and show other girls that you can do so without having to harm yourself.  Combating anorexia became Kristen’s social platform that she would share at beauty pageants.  After winning her first pageant at the local level Kristen found herself in a position of leadership and able to speak about her battle with anorexia and other eating disorders.

She would go on to win many more pageants and in 2008 win the coveted prize of Miss America. By winning the Miss America pageant in2008, she put a beautiful and real face on the struggle with and recovery from anorexia. “There are millions of people who struggle with this issue…It’s okay to reach out for help. Educate yourself.” Kristen says. “I’ve recovered in the sense that I’m physically healthy and fully aware of the truth about what constitutes living a healthy lifestyle. But do I have a past? Absolutely. So I’m mindful of that on a daily basis. I don’t think you’re ever fully out of the woods.” Because she feels that recovery is ongoing, she has started her own foundation to help teens and young adults deal with eating disorders.

Overcoming an eating disorder is extremely challenging, and often feels overwhelming. Thanks to the work and passion by Miss America 2008 winner Kristen Haglund, the issues of eating disorders is getting more media attention, and there is more emphasis on finding ways to help people overcome this growing issue.  Having a beauty pageant winner be so vocal about this disorder sends a loud and clear message to other young girls wanting to fallow in her footsteps.


By Kevin G.

Written by

Kevin Giles is a product of Santa Cruz, CA – the stoner capitol of the world. A born again Christian, Kevin loves his Lord Jesus and believes that his purpose in life is determined by God. He first entered drug recovery at the age of 19, suffering from an addiction to marijuana. He is a recent graduate of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he earned his Master’s degree in Christian Ministry. Passionate about God’s Word, he aspires to become a pastor or missionary. Kevin has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Monterey Bay. His interests include traveling, movies, golf, fitness and reading. He also enjoys being outdoors as well as spending time with friends and family. Kevin’s faith, education and life experience give him a unique perspective on addiction, recovery and spirituality.

Filed under: Celebrity News, Life · Tags: anorexia, beauty queen, Kristen Haglund and Anorexia, miss america and anorexia, overcoming eating disorders

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