Women of Maine: Antonia Caruso
Antonia Caruso began dieting in fifth grade and by her freshmen year of high school had reduced her caloric intake to 500 calories per day and her five-foot, five-inch frame to a dangerous 92 pounds. After hospitalization and treatment, and under the careful supervision of a nutritionist, Caruso regained her strength, resumed a regular routine and started cheerleading. As a sport, cheering depends on strength, flexibility and agility much like gymnastics. Caruso decided she needed to increase her strength and went to her high school weightlifting room. From there Caruso found a series of mentors, each of whom has helped her safely gain strength both physically and mentally.
Anorexia affects between 0.5 - 1% of women in the United States, according to the National Eating Disorder Association and has one of the highest mortality rates of any diagnosed mental illness. Participation in sports and physical activity helps improve the health and well-being of girls and women. The Women's Sports Foundation, founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King, released the third edition of their Her Life Depends On It report in May. A recent study cited in the report found "both aerobic exercise and strength training will lead to significant improvement to overall body image concerns for women with pre-existing conditions."
Caruso says, "Recovering from my eating disorder was the hardest thing I had to do. For me to come out of that and be this new person, this person who is actually me, that's what I'm most proud of."
The Maine Women's Fund applauds Antonia Caruso as a role model for Maine women and girls. She has battled back from a debilitating illness in a remarkable way and we wish her health and continued strength in her recovery and beyond. Visit maineeatingdisorders.org for resources, training, education, awareness and support for individuals, families, treatment providers and the greater community.
 "Her Life Depends On It " May 12, 2015. Accessed October 28, 2015.http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/home/research/articles-and-reports/mental-and-physical-health/her-life-depends-on-it-iii
 "Maine teen beats anorexia, becomes dedicated powerlifter" October 26, 2015. Accessed October 28, 2015.
Posted 11.09.2015 under News and Resources