Politics You’ll Want to Talk About

In this season of politics, elections, and voting, much has been said and done in the name of advocacy.  But regardless of your political stance, or what side of the party you stand with, or whether you prefer to abstain from politics completely, there is much to be informed about if you are a concerned member of the eating disorder community.

As a public health issue, eating disorder awareness is not only important to the general public but to governing bodies as well.  In light of the many obstacles that eating disorder sufferers are facing in regards to insurance benefits for treatment and medical management of their cases, it is crucial that attention be brought to the entire spectrum of eating disorders within state and federal government policies.

The Eating Disorders Coalition is a group whose mission is to advance the federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority as well as promote federal support for improved access to care.  The EDC has put into place several federal legislative efforts that are attempting to achieve this very thing.  Here are a few of the legislative efforts promoted by the EDC to be aware of:

*Bill:  The FREED Act Summary (Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders)
  A comprehensive eating disorders bill conceptualized and drafted with input from dozens of eating disorder organizations around the country. Among the many initiatives this bill will address include: creating Centers of Excellence to fill the current gap in eating disorders research, improving training of health and school professionals to appropriately identify and respond to eating disorders, and requiring insurance companies to reimburse for eating disorders treatment on par with physical illnesses.

*Bill:  The Eating Disorders Awareness, Prevention, and Education Act

Purpose:  1) improve identification of students with eating disorders; 2) increase awareness among parents and students; 3) train educators about prevention and assistance methods

*Bill:  The IMPACT Act (Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act)

Purpose:  Expand an existing grant program for the training of health profession students to include the treatment of overweight, obesity, and eating disorders

*Bill:  Promoting Healthy Eating Behaviors in Youth Act

Purpose:  Provides grants designed to promote healthy eating behaviors in youth as an avenue for preventing eating disorders, obesity, and osteoporosis.

Advocating for these new bills to be passed could dramatically improve the lives of people who are affected by eating disorders across the nation.  YOUR voice can be an influential part in the lives of these individuals.  Whether you have personally be affected by an eating disorder or care for someone who has, you can become a part of a group of concerned citizens who can make a lasting impact by joining a national movement for action.  Wondering how exactly to become an advocate and use your voice?  Check out these great ways to get started:

  • Join the advocacy efforts of groups like the Eating Disorder Coalition
  • Write a letter to your senator and representative sharing your passion as to why you believe these bills should be passed
  • Join a lobbying day to help push for important policy goals like the FREED act

Your voice CAN make a difference, and there is no better time than now to join efforts for those who are suffering from eating disorders.

Share with us…what are your ideas for advocating for eating disorder awareness, prevention, and treatment?

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website.