Thursday, October 16, 2014

Adolescents and OTC Weight-Loss Supplements

Eating Disorders Coalition Board Member, Bryn Austin, Sc.D., helped author two very important articles on adolescents and the use of over-the-counter dietary supplements for "weight control" (aka: weight loss).  "Over-the-Counter and Out-of-Control: Legal Strategies to Protect Youths From Abusing Products for Weight Control" was published in the American Journal of Public Health.  "The Dangerous Mix of Adolescents and Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Building: Legal Strategies for State Action" was published in the Journal of Public Health Management Practice.

Both articles raise important considerations necessary to address this dangerous mix.  The full articles can be read here: Adolescents and OTC Weight-Control Supplements




Two news articles came out about Dr. Austin's, and her colleagues', supplements study.  The news articles do a great job summarizing the key points for what state governments can do about the problem of dietary supplements marketed for weight control and muscle building:



Thank you, Dr. Austin, for allowing us to share these articles with our advocates.


The EDC welcomes your advocacy.  If you would like to get involved, please visit our website and sign up to be an "Individual Advocate" or email: km@eatingdisorderscoalition.org with your advocacy ideas.


Advocate Action Alert on BMI



Dear Advocates,

Yesterday we shared the exciting news with you that as a result of YOU using your voice to advocate for Members of Congress to sign onto the “Dear Colleague letter” addressed to Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) regarding BMI screening in schools, CDC decided to IMMEDIATELY start working on several changes*.  That CDC acted so quickly is NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING (miraculous really); rarely do things happen this fast on Capitol Hill.  CDC responded so quickly, in large part because of YOUR ADVOCACY. 


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

However, despite the immediate actions already being taken by CDC, there is more to be done and we need you to help ensure CDC follows through on the requests of the Dear Colleague letter. We need you and your friends, family, colleagues, clients (if appropriate) to call your Member of the House of Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter by Close Of Business (COB), Monday, October 27, 2014.
 
If you would like to use your voice and be part of the solution that addresses school-based BMI screenings, please make one very simple, yet very important, phone call. All the details on how to make your call can be found here: Advocate Action Alert.

To each of you, for all of your advocacy and belief in the EDC championing this issue on Capitol Hill for you and with you, I cannot say thank you enough.  But we must not yet rest yet. We must make our calls. We must get as many signatures as possible by COB, Monday, October 27, 2014. We must...we can...we will...together.   

Our work continues, ~Kathleen

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Together WE DID IT!! (and there's more to be done...!)


Dear EDC Advocates:

I can barely contain myself as I type up this blog!! 

We ("we" includes all +EDCoalition1 Member Organizations and every single advocate (aka: EACH OF YOU)) just got HUGE news from Congressman Ted Deutch's office regarding +Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our advocacy on school-based BMI screening, surveillance and reporting!

Today we learned that CDC reviewed the Dear Colleague letter Congressman Deutch's office initiated and that YOU advocated for, both in-person and virtually, on October 1, 2014.  As a result of the Dear Colleague letter and Joel Richard, Ted Deutch's amazing staffer, having a conversation on our behalf with CDC about the concerns expressed within the Facts and Concerns About School-Based BMI Screening, Surveillance and Reporting and the Dear Colleague letter, CDC decided to IMMEDIATELY start working on several changes to improve availability of information to schools conducting in-school screenings!! These immediate changes include:
  • CDC will update changes to the BMI measurement in schools information available on their Healthy Youth webpage:
    • Create a web page that emphasizes the safeguards and considerations outlined within the BMI Measurement in Schools journal article and executive summary
    • Send out the new page to CDC grantees and CDC partner organizations to disseminate
    • Offer the new page to the Department of Education to send out through their grantees and partner networks
  • Provided targeted webinars on this topic to:
    • Department of Education grantees (e.g., PEP grantees)
    • Presidential Youth Fitness Program grantees
    • CDC grantees funded for school health strategies (note: these make take more time to schedule and/or record)
  • Add cautionary, safeguard language to CDC’s BMI tool for school calculator webpage.

When I had the honor of becoming the EDC's Policy & Communications Director on June 1, 2014, the EDC President,  +Johanna Kandel, and I immediately agreed that BMI screening in schools was an issue we wanted the EDC to champion on behalf of families, treatment providers, researchers, sufferers; on behalf of ALL those impacted by school-based BMI screening.  We had heard too many horror stories from parents, students, school nurses, teachers and others, about some of the ways this practice was taking place in so many schools, and we knew that something needed to be done to put an end to the irresponsible and oftentimes harmful screening practices. 
In early August 2014, Johanna and I met with Joel in Congressman Deutch's office to describe the problems that many of you had relayed to us in private conversations and emails in which you detailed the unsettling (at best) ways that your child, you, your best friend, etc., had endured a BMI screening in school.  Joel listened to us detail your concerns and immediately took the issue to the Congressman.  The next thing we knew, Joel let us know that the Congressman was willing to author a Dear Colleague letter to address the issue with CDC.  Thanks to the Congressman and Joel for their hard work, they provided us the Dear Colleague letter in time for our fall National Lobby Day so that YOU could fight back against this practice by asking Members of Congress to sign their name to the letter and get the attention of CDC.  That CDC has acted so quickly is NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING (miraculous really); rarely do things happen this fast on Capitol Hill.  CDC responded so quickly in large part because of YOUR ADVOCACY!!

HOWEVER, despite the immediate action by CDC, there is more to be done and we need you to help ensure CDC follows through on the requests of the Dear Colleague letter (which was updated since Joel's conversation with CDC...you can find the revised letter here)  We need you and your friends, family, colleagues, clients (if appropriate) to call your Member of the House of Representatives and ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter by Close Of Business (COB), Monday, October 27, 2014.

As a result of CDC's already-acknowledged commitment to properly address this issue, the Dear Colleague letter has been revised to include two very "easy asks" that are zero-cost (a huge plus!).  The revised Dear Colleague asks CDC "for additional efforts to communicate guidance and recommended best practices, and coordinate with the Department of Education so that schools can administer BMI screening without inflicted unintended harm on students."  (The Dear Colleague letter is also now being copied to the Department of Education's Secretary Duncan.)

To each of you, for all of your advocacy and belief in the EDC addressing this issue for you, with you, together, I cannot say thank you enough for allowing us the honor of championing this cause with you on Capitol Hill.  But we must not yet rest yet. We must make our calls. We must get as many signatures as possible by COB, Monday, October 27, 2014. We must...we can...we will...together.
 

Our work continues, ~Kathleen  
__________________________

The Eating Disorders Coalition is so very appreciative to the following organizations and researcher for their collegial spirit in collaborating with us to create the "Facts and Concerns About School-Based BMI Screening, Surveillance and Reporting" document. Without your expertise and dedication to working together as a group to flush things through and suss things out, the document would not have come together so thoroughly. Thank you: The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED),   +Binge Eating Disorder Association, +F.E.A.S.T. Videos (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders), Strategic Planning Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) and +kendrin sonneville.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

One Week Ago Today



Debra Schlesinger, Nicole's mom and Founder of Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED)
Dear friends:

One week ago today, many of you were here in Washington, DC, on the West Lawn of the Capitol, standing in the midst of countless advocates, moms, friends, family, providers, treatment centers, virtual Marchers/advocates...

One week ago today, though we stood beneath the Capitol Dome, the dome did not cast a shadow on us. No, in fact WE were the ones who cast our shadow over the Capitol Dome. We cast our shadow of united voices, power, strength, hope, passion, resilience, hands clapping, hearts breaking, tears falling, arms hugging, and butterflies flying...

One week ago today, we stood together because we know that together we will not fall apart. Together, we know our message that, "Eating disorders are serious, there IS hope and Congress CAN make a difference!" WILL be heard. Our message WILL resound from beneath the Capitol Dome through the Halls of Congress, and it WILL be heard by the President...

One week ago today, we joined together to combat the deadliest of all mental illnesses, the insidious monster we call "eating disorder." We wept as we cried out, "NO MORE GREEN SHIRTS!"...
...
 

Soon, "one week ago today" will turn into one month ago today, two months, six months... But I believe this without a doubt: We will not lose conviction. We will not diminish our call to action. We will not give up. We WILL continue our advocacy. We WILL continue to educate Congress. We WILL continue to do every single thing we can to ensure "no more green shirts!" at the next March. And we WILL, one month from now, two months from now, six months from now...we will still remember the emotions that came when hugging each other for the first time; we will still tell ED, just as forcefully as one week ago, to, "Get Back!"; we will still well-up with tears when we hear Wind Beneath My Wings; we will still call up a strength within us to USE OUR VOICE and make a difference; we will still stand together until legislation passes; and we will still remember making history, together, one week ago today.

Thank you so very much for coming to DC, for Marching, for Lobbying... I am a better person, and Policy Director, for having met you and walking this journey with you by my side.

Our work continues, together. ~Kathleen



EDC National Lobby Day, October 1, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why I Am Joining the M.O.M. March



Kitty Westin

I was speaking to a reporter yesterday and when he asked why I was joining the M.O.M. March these words came from somewhere deep within: “I think I am seen as the Grandmother of the movement. I am humbled to join with other mom’s, family members, sufferers, and others who are united in our fight against eating disorders.  I have been using my voice for nearly 15 years and it has always been my dream to bring our collective voices and march in DC!”  I cannot wait to send the message to Congress that our voices will be heard, we will not go away until they are heard and we have patience and persistence beyond their wildest imagination.

 

Anna Selina Westin
I march for my Anna, who died from an eating disorder on February 17, 2000, and for the millions of people affected by eating disorders who cannot join us in Washington DC.  I feel it is my responsibility to be Anna’s voice and she left me with instructions to never let her (or my) voice die.  Anna was wise, thoughtful, compassionate and insistent that her voice and the fight against eating disorders live on.  She had no energy left to fight but she challenged me (and all of us) to continue battling until the war is won.

 
On September 30, 2014 we will unite our voices and we will send a powerful message to Congress that eating disorders deserve national attention!

written by: Kitty Westin