WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2010
EXTENSION ON DEADLINE!! Need to call by Monday, July 12th, 5 pm (EST)
Action Alert! Ask Michelle Obama to address eating disorders!
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. Currently Representatives Tammy Baldwin, Lois Capps, Donna Edwards, Barney Frank, and Patrick Kennedy have agreed to add their signatures. They 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. Deadline for you to call is Monday, July 12th and the deadline for Members of Congress to sign on is noon July 14th.
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
Tell the person answering that you are a constituent of Congressman/woman XX 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 July 14th.
The receptionist may transfer you to the health legislative assistant who is in charge of this issue. You then repeat your message. You can get this person's email address and send the letter below.
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. If advocates have questions please contact Jeanine at the EDC at email@example.com.
The Sign-On Letter:
June 28, 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. However, 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 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. 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