Thursday, March 03, 2011

EDC Press Release: U.S. Senators Harkin, Klobuchar, and Franken introduce FREED Act in Senate

U.S. Senators Harkin, Klobuchar, and Franken introduce bill to confront eating disorders in the U.S.

For Immediate Release

David Jaffe
Executive Director, EDC

(Washington, D.C. - March 3, 2011) - The United States took an important step toward addressing the national emergency of eating disorders when Senators Tom Harkin, Amy Klobuchar, and Al Franken introduced the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act today.

“The FREED Act is the first legislative effort in the history of the Senate to comprehensively confront the seriousness and deadly threat of eating disorders in the United States. We are proud to have Senators Harkin, Klobuchar and Franken champion our cause,” said Jeanine Cogan, Policy Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition.

A coordinated national response like the FREED Act can help the millions of Americans suffering (and, too often, dying) from eating disorders.

“It has been ten years since anorexia killed my daughter Anna,” said EDC Board Member Kitty Westin. “And eating disorders have killed thousands of Americans since then. It’s time for Congress to pass the FREED Act as a critical first step in addressing this national emergency.”

Eating disorders do not discriminate: men and women, all economic classes, old and young are affected. Sadly, eating disorders even touch young children. According to a recent report in the December issue of PEDIATRICS, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, hospitalizations for children with eating disorders under age 12 increased by a shocking 119% for the years 1999 to 2006.

The FREED Act would fund much needed research to better understand eating disorders and provides solutions for prevention, education, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Among other things, the legislation would fund grants to conduct research on treatment efficacy, train health professionals and school personnel to identify and respond to eating disorders, and build on existing reform efforts to ensure that treatment is available to those who need it.

Ten months ago, two days before she was to join the Eating Disorders Coalition citizen lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, a young woman from Pennsylvania named Nicole died in her sleep from her eating disorder. Nicole’s mother sadly states, “If the FREED Act was in place, I might still have my daughter with me today.” Nicole’s aunt, Wendy Bloom, added, “The FREED Act will stop the endless pain for millions of people. It will allow treatment for a disease without the fear of not completing their treatment because their insurance doesn't cover it. It will end the torment and pain of another mother burying her child because she couldn't afford treatment.”

About the EDC
The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action is working in Washington, D.C., to increase awareness, educate policymakers, and promote understanding about the disabling and life-threatening effects of eating disorders. Our mission is to advance the federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority.

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