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March Against Eating Disorders

By Hawa Patel
On October 7, 2015
Photo Courtesy / Flickr / Courtney Emery

Photo Courtesy / Flickr / Courtney Emery

Mothers, sisters and friends of eating disorder victims are lobbying for Anna’s Law in the March Against Eating Disorders on October 27th. The law already has bipartisan support, and it advocates for training, treatment and truth in advertisement. The Eating Disorder Coalition brings advocates together twice a year for National Lobby Day, which is the day after the march. It is being organized with the Moms and Other March, Mothers Against Eating Disorders, The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness and The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the legislation in May 2015.  The law is named after Anna Westin, who committed suicide because of her battle with anorexia in February 2000. Anna’s Law will push for the recognition of eating disorders nationally despite the negative stigma of the disorders. Bringing light to this illness will be the only way to eradicate it.

It is estimated by the EDC that 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, and these victims have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Not all eating disorders are treated or even addressed by the victim’s family or friends until it is too late. Anna’s Law pushes for adequate training for doctors so that they can better identify and pick up on eating disorders. In many cases, someone suffering from an eating disorder will be seen by a physician but will not be diagnosed.

Better treatment for eating disorders addresses the issue that most insurance providers do not cover eating disorder rehab, therapy or any sort of treatment. The EDC reports “50 percent of insurance companies cover only hospital care for patients suffering eating disorders. Yet, there is impressive evidence base for cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, as well as family-based interventions for youth with anorexia nervosa.”

Truth in advertisement requires a Federal Trade Commission report studying whether or not regulation is needed for digitally altered images of models in advertising. Anna’s Law will lead to developing strategies to achieve such regulation in media, and truth in advertisement will reduce the pressure on people to look a certain way because of what society or the media tells them.

The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt is an advocate for a law that will ensure treatment for all eating disorder victims. “We march because 20-30 percent of our patients are men who thought they were the ‘only one’ and suffered in silence for a long time. Eating disorders don’t discriminate, and treatment shouldn’t either.”

Dr. Rose Signorello, Executive Director of Counseling and Disabilities Services at UST, believes eating disorders are not hard to detect for a trained professional, but sometimes patients mask their symptoms because even though they want to get help they are not emotionally ready.

“Eating disorders are a serious concern for college students,” Signorello said. “Eating disorders often surface during a time of a critical life transition, such as beginning college or other important life changes.  It is important to be aware that eating disorders affect both males and females, although females are affected more often... Eating disorders are a serious mental health issue; the majority of people with a serious eating disorder do not get adequate care.  If a student suspects that she/he or someone they care about has an eating disorder, reach out for help.”

To join the March Against Eating Disorders, visit For more information on eating disorders or getting help, you can visit Counseling and Disabilities in Crooker. 


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