Eating Disorders In The News: April 29, 2010

Bill Aids Eating Disorder Care

By Tara Bannow

An act propelled by two Minnesota senators seeks to improve the plight of those suffering from eating disorders and prevent future cases from starting.

The Freed Act would allocate research money to the National Institutes of Health to better investigate the causes of eating disorders and improve treatment methods. The research would also seek to improve public data on eating disorders, including morbidity and mortality rates.

The act was sponsored Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and recently introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

“The fact is, we don’t know nearly enough about diagnosing, treating and preventing these diseases,” Franken wrote in a statement. “Today’s legislation is a major step forward in understanding eating disorders and how to stop them from destroying lives.”

When patients with less obvious eating disorders visit their doctors, it’s not uncommon for them to hear lines like “You look great, I wish all my patients looked like you,” said Jeanine Cogan, policy director of the Eating Disorders Coalition.

Read Bill Aids Eating Disorder Care in full.

A Better Body Image

By Molly Logan Anderson

Can you feel the excitement in the air as school-age kids enter the summer months? Free of their tight schedule and normal routine, warm weather offers kids plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun and time with friends. Unfortunately, the same activities that kids enjoy so much can also cause anxiety about their appearance.For teens, tweens and even elementary-age children, physical appearance is a top concern. If parents start early and are consistent with positive body-image messages, children will be better able to avoid disordered eating patterns down the line.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, a 1991 study found that 42 percent of first- through third-grade girls would like to be thinner. Another study that same year determined that 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat. Statistics like these suggest that a cultural bias toward thinness is leading our youth to value a particular size at a very young age. Parental guidance is more important than ever.

Why do kids care?

It seems as if childhood concerns regarding weight and appearance start earlier and earlier.

“I think the struggles affect kids at a much younger age,” says Kathy Kater, LICSW, psychotherapist and author of “Healthy Body Image: Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too!”

Read A Better Body Image in full.

Fairmount Performing Arts Center play examines baffling world of food and body image

Amy is a teen who is happy to bake her dad his favorite chocolate cake for his birthday, but doesn't trust herself to eat one bite. Instead, she heads to her bedroom and madly runs in place to burn the calories she consumed at the family dinner.

Fortysomething "Calorie Woman" can spout off the number of calories in the most complicated "grande" coffee drink at Starbucks -- though she only orders the nonfat, sugar-free version, and panics when she tastes whole-milk foam added by mistake.

Read Fairmount Performing Arts in full.

Portland's Zoe Yates Tells Of Battle Back From Anorexia

Dorset Echo

A TEENAGER who fought against anorexia is warning others of the dangers posed by eating disorders.

Zoe Yates, from Portland, spent five years battling anorexia and ended up being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Her weight plummeted to under five stone as she refused to eat and spent prolonged periods in hospital.

Zoe, 19, is now well on her way to recovery and has used her savings to book an eight-week adventure in Southern India. She will be traveling with a friend who she met in hospital and together they will be going to volunteer in an orphanage.

Read Zoe's story in full

Way To Go! Rebecca Allen Of Roslyn High School

Rebecca Allen knows firsthand about the dangers of eating disorders.

Allen, a Roslyn High School senior, was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 2006, and missed the start of her freshman year because she was admitted to Schneider Children's Hospital. Since then, Allen initiated the idea for Project HEAL, a nonprofit that gives funding to people battling eating disorders who can't afford treatment, which can be $30,000 a month, she said. So far, she's raised some $100,000.

"Insurance rarely covers eating disorders," Allen, 17, said. "I saw people firsthand being turned down for treatment."

Read Rebecca's story in full.

HBS Fashionably Fights Eating Disorders

April is the month for fashion shows with a cause, it seems, and on April 13, the Harvard Business School’s Retail and Apparel Club hosted its 7th annual HBS fashion show at Mantra, a restaurant in downtown Boston. Every year, the fashion show aims to raise awareness for a selected charity “through the lens of fashion,” according to a press kit for the fashion show.

This year, the students celebrated beautiful people, beautiful clothes, and beautiful bodies in an effort to raise awareness for this year’s charity, the Harris Center for Education and Advocacy in Eating Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Read HBS in full.

German school takes teenagers to see cremations of young people to warn them of the dangers of addiction


A German town has begun taking teenagers to witness cremations of young people killed through drink or drugs in a bid to wean them from a life of addictions.

Children aged between 14 and 16 in Meissen now have to go at least once to the town crematorium to see the coffins of young victims burned in the 920 degree oven.

They are also shown the ashes, a machine which grinds bones to dust and the remains of false teeth that melt into unidentifiable bits of metal in the flames.

The shock-therapy, a new concept in Germany which normally does its best to shield children from the grim realities of the adult world, is being observed by other cities and towns with a view to copying it.

This week 40 youngsters from the Ebersbacher Middle School in the town stood in the chilly cool room of the crematorium among 200 corpses awaiting cremation.

Read about the cremations in full.

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