Friday, June 13, 2014

EDC Speaks in Support of the MEPS Act

May 22, 2014, Washington, DC.

The Eating Disorders Coalition was humbled to speak at Congressmen Glenn Thompson and Congressman Tim Ryan's Press Conference on May 22, 2014, in honor of the Medical Evaluation Parity for Service Members (MEPS) Act (HR: (H.R. 4305 / S. 2231).  The MEPS Act passed the House on May 22, 2014, and, in short
will "provide an individual with a mental health assessment before the individual enlists in the Armed Forces or is commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces."

Why does the EDC care about this bill?  For several reasons, including what the bill states in its findings:
(1) More focus needs to be put on mental health in America. (2) The large number of suicides among veterans and members of the Armed Forces is unacceptable, especially given that more members have died by suicide than in combat. (3) Many of those suicides in the military were members of the Armed Forces who never deployed. (4) Members of the Armed Forces, having been at war for more than a decade, have been put through acute physical and mental stress. (5) Many of the suicides in the Armed Forces can be prevented, and studies have found that improved screening reduced later behavioral problems by 78 percent and reduced thoughts of suicide by more than half. (6) Although the military currently has a baseline measurement process for physical health, the military does not currently have similar standards for mental health. (7) It is important that the military ensures that the members of the Armed Forces are both physically and mentally fit for all the missions the United States requires.

Additionally, we care about this bill because a recent study of abnormal eating behaviors in 3,000 active duty women in the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps revealed that more than 60% of respondents had some type of eating disorder, and nearly every Marine Corps respondent (97.5%) met criteria for an eating disorder.  Of active duty Navy men, 2.5% suffered with anorexia, 6.8% bulimia, and 40.8% suffered with "other eating disorders."  Navy men classified in the "normal" category (49.9% of those sampled), reported current behaviors of vomiting, water pills, diet pills, laxatives and binging.

The MEPS Act will help address these alarming statistics.

Thank you so very much to the champions of the bill and their colleagues, Senator Rob Portman for introducing a companion bill in the Senate.

photo credit: Representative Glenn Thompson

To read more about the MEPS Act:

#TruthinAds June press event

June 11, 2014, Washington, DC.

Eating Disorders Coalition champions Lois Capps and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen accepted the delivery of 28,000 petition signatures, in support of the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.  The signatures were generated by Seth Matlins' petition on (Seth is the father who conceived of the idea behind the bill).

Seth, the EDC and both Congresswomen gave impassioned speeches detailing the dire need for Congress to take action on the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (#TruthinAds), a bill that is one part in the complex solution to addressing eating and body image disorders.

Said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, "For too long, our nation's women and men have been subject to false, impossible expectations of beauty --expectations with consequences so severe that America is facing a full blown public health crisis. While we hope that the advertising industry eventually self regulates, the government has a duty to protect the public when o
ver 30 million people are suffering from eating disordered behaviors."

Congresswoman Capps echoed the urgency for addressing this issue that leads, all too often, to behaviors that drive eating disorders, "Millions of Americans struggle with an eating disorder, and so many others struggle with a healthy body image, comparing themselves to an ideal that often does not exist. We know that while these altered images affect the norms and expectations of all who see them and research has shown that these psychological effects persist, even when the viewer knows that the images could be altered. This is especially impactful on our young people, particularly girls."

The EDC gives a shout out to ALL the many and varied individual activists and advocates who took the time to sign the petition. YOUR VOICE MATTERS and is making a difference!!

For more pictures from the event, please visit:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 features the Truth In Advertising Act of 2014

Thank you to Jennifer Still at for writing about the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.

As a related sidenote, we just want to remind everyone that this bill will not impede the right to free speech, in part because advertisements are commercial speech. Also, because the bill simply instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report recommendations for regulatory framework with respect to advertising in order to promote truth-in-advertising and protect the consumers, in particular children and girls, from harm. To that end, Lois Capps said it so well, "Just as with cigarette ads in the past, fashion ads portray a twisted, ideal image for young women. And they’re vulnerable. As sales go up, body image and confidence drops."

Below are just a few reasons why the Eating Disorders Coalition teamed up with the dad who conceptualized the idea for this bill and with Members of Congress Representative Capps, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Ted Deutch to make the bill a reality:

Three of the most common mental health problems among girls (eating disorders, depression and depressed mood/self- esteem) are linked to media’s representations of women and girls.

42% of girls in 1st through 3rd grades want to be thinner.

51% of girls aged 9 -10 feel better about themselves when they are dieting.

53% of 13 year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies; 78% of 17 year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.

80% of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty advertisement.

By the time they are 17, children have seen 250,000 television commercials telling them they should be a decorative object, sex object or a body size they can never achieve.

There are three easy ways YOU can be an advocate of change:

Sign this petition:

Vote on PopVox:

Write or call your Members of Congress:

Thursday, April 24, 2014


The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC) and Mothers Against Eating Disorders (MAED) proudly announce the first annual M.O.M. March on DC, September 30, 2014!

This inaugural M.O.M (Mothers and Others) March will be an historic unification of moms, families, advocates and organizations dedicated to eating disorders and related issues, collaboratively marching together on the Nation's Capitol.

The mission of the M.O.M March is both simple and powerful: raise awareness of the prevalence, stigma and devastating consequences of eating disorders; unite people from around the world to advocate for those affected by eating disorders; honor those who have lost a loved one to an eating disorder; and educate Congress in order to influence federal policy related to eating disorders.

Eating disorders are the deadliest of all mental illnesses, yet access to treatment is gravely inadequate and people continue to suffer and die unnecessarily as a result.

Please join us in marching together on September 30, 2014, followed by advocating on the Hill at the EDC's National Lobby Day October 1, 2014. Together we will make a difference and ensure that not one more precious life is lost to these treatable diseases.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research Policy & Action (EDC) Announces New Policy & Communications Director

WASHINGTON, DC, April 18, 2014 – The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action ("EDC") announced Kathleen MacDonald as the new Policy & Communications Director of the EDC.  MacDonald has a ten-year history of working in the field of eating disorders and has expertise in the areas of education and prevention, insurance advocacy and policy related to eating disorders and mental health parity. MacDonald brings not only her professional strengths to the EDC, but a also a personal perspective on eating disorders; she recovered from a long battle with the very diseases for which the EDC advocates.  "My struggle with eating disorders was in part prolonged because I did not have access to medically necessary treatment,” said MacDonald. “When I was sick, the EDC provided a beacon of hope when I thought no one cared about people suffering with eating disorders. During my recovery process, I became a citizen advocate at the EDC's National Lobby Days.  It was through EDC National Lobby Days that I learned the power of advocacy, the power of using my voice and the power of policy."

“We are so thrilled to have Kathleen join our organization as Policy Director.  She is a beacon of hope to so many struggling, a fierce advocate, and a respected professional.  She brings a voice to the voiceless,” said Johanna Kandel, EDC Board President.  “We look forward to this new chapter for the Eating Disorders Coalition and to continuing our work bring recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority.”

In 2004, MacDonald partnered with EDC Member Organization The Gail R. Schoenbach F.R.E.E.D. Foundation (For Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders) as Education and Prevention Coordinator, and Insurance Advocate.  In 2008, after many years of volunteering with the EDC, MacDonald became the Policy Assistant of the EDC and worked on legislative efforts on Capitol Hill, including EDC National Lobby Days and strategic policy planning such as helping develop the "Education and Prevention" section of The FREED Act, the first comprehensive federal bill in the history of Congress to address eating disorders research, treatment and education and prevention.  In 2012, MacDonald joined Kantor & Kantor, LLP, as a Health Insurance Advocate where she authored appeals to insurance companies from the denial of benefits for treatment of eating and other mental health disorders. "My time at Kantor & Kantor (K&K) was invaluable and I will be forever grateful to everyone at the firm, especially the Health Team.  Lisa Kantor, founding partner of K&K and EDC Board Member, has been a boss, mentor and friend to me and I appreciate her encouragement to accept the Policy Director position.  Though I will no longer work for Lisa or the firm, we will still work closely together as we raise awareness of the barriers to insurance coverage people with eating disorders face when seeking treatment," said MacDonald. 

On her goals as the Policy Director, MacDonald said, "I look forward to helping advance the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014, the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED) Act of 2013, furthering the EDC's legislative priorities and working with EDC Member Organizations and advocates from across the country to collaboratively demonstrate to Congress that they can make a difference by passing legislation that will benefit all those impacted by eating disorders. I feel blessed, humbled and excited to take forward the EDC's mission of influencing policy to ensure positive and long-lasting change in the lives of all those affected by these insidious and deadly brain disorders."   

About The Eating Disorders Coalition
Since 2000, the Eating Disorders Coalition's mission has been to bring recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority at the federal and state level.  The EDC raises awareness among policy makers and the public at large about the serious health risk posed by eating disorders; promotes federal support for improved access to care; increases resources for research, education, prevention, and improved training; increases funding and support for scientific research on the etiology, prevention, and treatment of eating disorder; promotes initiatives that support the healthy development of children; and mobilizes concerned citizens to advocate on behalf of people with eating disorders, their families, and professionals in the field.  To learn more and to become involved with the EDC visit: or visit their FB page at:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Truth In Advertising Hangout

Didn't get to be at the #TruthInAds Google Hangout? Here's the link to the video.

Thank you again to The Representation Project, SPARK Summit and Seth Matlins!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Truth in Advertising Act Introduced!

The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) and Seth Matlins of the Brave Girls Alliance commend Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Ted Deutch (D-FL) on the Truth in Advertising Act. This bipartisan bill requires the Federal Trade Commission to study what steps can be taken to reduce the usage of “photoshopped” models in advertising. The broad-range of health consequences of advertising that “photoshops” and changes the human form by advertisers is particularly concerning. These types of altered advertisements have a particularly strong impact on children and girls.

“We are extremely excited about this legislation. Reps. Ros-Lehtinen, Capps and Deutch have been champions for the eating disorders causes, and we value their leadership on this important initiative,” said Johanna Kandel, President of the Eating Disorders Coalition, “ The EDC has been concerned about the effect “photoshopping” can have on the onset of eating disorders for quite sometime and we look forward to seeing this bill become law.”

"As the father of 2 young children, I'm incredibly grateful for the leadership Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Capps and Deutch are demonstrating" said Seth Matlins, who first began advocating for this type of legislative action with his wife almost three years ago. "Advertisers have been operating within guidelines and a 'business-as-usual' approach that needs to be re-examined. When 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of ideal body shape - and yet the body shapes they see aren't real or attainable; when 80% of women feel "shame" after reading a beauty magazine, we need to act, and re-consider commercial practices that are harming a broad cross-section of the population."

The Eating Disorders Coalition is a non-profit policy and advocacy organization for persons with eating disorders located in Washington, DC. Seth Matlins is a father, marketer, and member of the Brave Girls Alliance, which shares the message that girls want, and deserve more empowered and healthy media.  For more information, visit and