The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) is working with Congressman Alcee Hastings, who is asking Michelle Obama to expand her Childhood Obesity Initiative so that it also addresses eating disorders. Congressman Hastings has written the below letter to the First Lady. We are looking for additional Members of Congress to join them in taking a stand for eating disorders by signing onto this letter.
This is where you come in!
We ask that you call your Representative in the House and ask her/him to sign onto this letter. This is important. We have an opportunity to influence Michelle Obama's initiative so that it is more comprehensive and addresses the spectrum of eating disorders as well as obesity.
If you do one thing today - have it be this. Contact your Representative now.
1) Who is my Representative? If you don't know who your representative is
- go to www.house.gov
- put your 9 digit zip code into the box in upper left corner
- This will take you to your Representative
2) Calling your Rep
- Call 202-224-3121 which is the Capitol Switchboard and ask for your Rep's office. They will connect you
3) The MESSAGE (what you say when calling) ---
Tell the person answering that you are a constituent and that you would like him/her to sign onto Alcee Hastings letter that urges Michelle Obama to incorporate eating disorders into her childhood obesity campaign. The deadline for signing onto the letter is NOON ON FRIDAY, July 16th.
The receptionist may transfer you to the health legislative assistant who is in charge of this issue. You then repeat your message. You can also get this person's email address and send the letter below...
If you need more message: Everyday people are dying of eating disorders yet this reality remains unrecognized and hidden. When there is such a focus on weight as is the case in the First Lady's initiative - this invariably results in some people using risky weight loss methods, the increase of weight-related stigma and bullying, and developing eating disorders. Unless Michelle Obama overtly includes a discussion of eating disorders in her efforts there is the unintended possibility that her campaign will do harm. If your boss adds his/her name to this letter it will help influence the First Lady's Initiative so that it is comprehensive and promotes health for all children.
If the office wants to sign on to this letter, they should contact Amye Greene at 5-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org --- This is for Members of Congress and their staff ONLY - please do not contact Amye as an advocate.
Below is what you would send in an email if the person you speak with would like further information. Please cc: "policyassistantEDC@yahoo.com":
SUPPORT A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO IMPROVING THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH OF CHILDREN!
URGE THE FIRST LADY TO INCORPORATE EATING DISORDERS INTO THE LET’S MOVE CAMPAIGN!
Deadline: Friday, July 16 at NOON
Signees: Reps. Arcuri, Baldwin, Capps, Courtney, Deutch, Edwards (MD), Ellison, Frank, Grijalva, Hodes, Kennedy, Kilpatrick, Meek (FL), Napolitano, Maloney, Pascrell, Towns, Price (NC), Shea-Porter, Schwartz, and Wasserman Schultz
This letter is supported by the following organizations (28): American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Academy for Eating Disorders, A Chance to Heal, American Dance Therapy Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association, Anxiety Disorders Association of America, Avalon Hills Residential Eating Disorder Programs, Binge Eating Disorders Association, Cedar Associates, Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, Clinical Social Work Association, Eating Disorders Coalition, EDReferral.com, The Emily Program, F.E.A.S.T., Gail R. Schoenbach FREED Foundation, Gurze Books, Maudsley Parents, Mental Health America, MentorCONNECT, Monte Nido Treatment Center, Multi-Services Eating Disorder Association, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders, National Eating Disorders Association, Pennsylvania Education Network for Eating Disorders, Renfrew Center, School Social Work Association of America, and The Emily Program Foundation
July 14, 2010
In February, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Let’s Move Campaign, and took a historic step in combating childhood obesity and improving the health of families and communities.
Like obesity, unhealthy weight loss measures, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) have increased significantly over the past few decades. Although obesity and eating disorders have distinct health impacts, they both have negatively impacted the physical, emotional and educational development of children. Many obese individuals also resort to unhealthy weight loss tactics and may develop eating disorders in an attempt to achieve a desired weight or body image.
In a recent video chat about the Let’s Move Campaign, the First Lady said, “The flip side to obesity can be eating disorders and we certainly don't want to enforce the reverse trend." Although we are pleased that she mentioned eating disorders, we believe that including information on eating disorders in public statements, tools and guides for the Let’s Move Campaign would strengthen the First Lady’s mission to support and improve child health.
The prevalence of obesity and eating disorders indicates the need for a comprehensive and well-coordinated intervention that supports healthier eating habits and improves the mental and physical health of all children. Please join me in sending a letter to the First Lady urging her to take a more holistic approach to addressing behaviors that are compromising the health of our children. If you have any questions or wish to sign on to this letter, contact Amye Greene at 5-1313 or email@example.com.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
July 21, 2010
The First Lady of the United States
The White House
441 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear First Lady Michelle Obama,
Thank you for championing the health and welfare of our nation’s children through the Let’s Move Campaign. Let’s Move has brought historic attention to the importance of addressing one the most serious public health concerns of today. Although we applaud that you mentioned eating disorders during a recent Let’s Move event, we believe that broadening Let’s Move’s focus to include information about eating disorders would enhance the campaign’s mission to improve the mental and physical health of all children.
We understand that obesity and eating disorders have distinct health impacts, and believe that the prevalence of these disorders indicates the need for comprehensive and well-coordinated interventions that support healthier habits and environments. Like obesity, unhealthy weight loss measures, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) have increased significantly over the past few decades. In fact, more than 11 million men, women and children suffer from an eating disorder in the United States.
In a speech that publicly introduced the Let’s Move Campaign, you stated that unhealthy diets and habits can negatively influence physical, emotional and educational development and well-being. Eating disorders are no exception. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that undernourishment impacts a student’s ability to excel academically, and suicide, anxiety and depression are more common in people with eating disorders. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, and can result in long-term health issues including heart and kidney failure, cognitive impairment, muscle atrophy and sudden death.
Like obesity, eating disorders afflict children of different ages, genders, economic backgrounds, and ethnicities. At least 30-40 percent of junior high students have reported dieting, over half of high-school girls have reported dieting, and 25 percent of bulimia and anorexia cases are men. What’s more, student athletes can be especially vulnerable to eating disorders because some adopt unhealthy dietary restrictions and weight loss methods to achieve or maintain a certain weight for competition. Many obese individuals resort to unhealthy weight loss tactics and may develop eating disorders in an attempt to achieve a desired weight or body image.
Strong environmental, cultural, social factors have contributed to the high rates of obesity and eating disorders in the United States. Stigma, blame and misinformation often accompany these conditions. Coordinated efforts among educators, elected officials, parents, community leaders and young people are crucial to executing sustainable solutions to these public health problems. We believe that the Let’s Move Campaign’s mission is compatible with messages and interventions that are designed to address eating disorders.
Educators could incorporate information about unhealthy dieting when providing information about healthy food choices. Speeches and parental toolkits could include information about risks, signs and support networks for eating disorders. Let’s Move programs could be designed to teach children to respect body size diversity, promote self esteem, and support body satisfaction. And, the Let’s Move Web site could include a link to the Office of Women’s Health Web site which has comprehensive and evidence based information on eating disorders.
The unprecedented leadership in the battle against obesity through the Let’s Move Campaign shows your commitment to creatively and aggressively improving the health of children, families and communities. We hope that you will take our suggestions into consideration so that the Let’s Move Campaign can take a more holistic approach to addressing the full spectrum of behaviors that are compromising the health of America’s children.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org once you have made your phone calls to report who you called.
Thank you for adding your voice to this effort. Every call makes a difference!